Indian Railways News

We Face Walls Of Water”: Communities Rally To Face Hurricane Florence

 

The call went out through Facebook at a little past noon on Friday: Volunteers needed immediately to fill sandbags and dam up a railway channel where floodwaters have emerged before.

“Pretty soon, I had a hundred of my closest friends out here helping us out,” said state Sen. Danny Earl Britt Jr., R, who organized the sandbag marathon at West Lumberton Baptist Church. Men and women, young and old, worked for hours alongside members of the National Guard to fill the white sacks with mud dug up with backhoes. Soon, sweat mingled with the rain that splashed their faces and drenched their clothes.

“Sixty miles per hour winds, shingles flying off their own homes,” Britt said. “And they’re here working for everyone else.”

The work was wet and difficult, but essential: The Lumber River, which runs through town, was expected to rise by as much as 20 feet thanks to rains from Florence. It was not a question of if the river would overtop its banks, but when.

As Florence’s winds and rain swept across the Carolinas, communities like Lumberton scrambled to prepare for the surge in flooding that would inevitably follow.

“We face walls of water at our coasts, along our rivers, across our farmland, in our cities and in our towns,” North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper, D, said Saturday morning during a briefing.

Florence was downgraded to a tropical storm Saturday. But its slow forward movement means that coastal and southeastern areas will still get the brunt of its deluge. Parts of North Carolina have already received a record-breaking 30 inches of rain, and many areas are expected to get at least 15 inches more. The National Weather Service forecasts major flooding at most rivers around the state.

Some areas are already experiencing flash flooding, which occurs when rainfall rates are so high that they overwhelm drainage systems.

But a growing concern is river flooding, which happens as tributaries and basins drain into main rivers, causing them to overtop their banks. Some rivers may not crest for another several days.

All or parts of 18 counties in North Carolina had issued mandatory evacuation orders, warning that the flooding from this storm is likely to be even worse than what they experienced during Hurricane Matthew, which devastated the state in 2016.

“While the storm appears on the surface to be not as intense as expected, this is not the case,” said Nathan Walls, a spokesman for the city of Fayetteville, N.C. “The worst is yet to come.”

In Robeson County, which includes Lumberton, Matthew caused the Lumber River to exceed its banks by 12 feet. The water burst through the river’s aging levees and destroyed hundreds of homes.

The Rev. Rick Foreman of West Lumberton Baptist Church said one of his parishioners drowned in Matthew’s floodwaters. During Florence on Friday, he watched as the volunteers worked to bolster one of the two flood-prone stretches of the river that could threaten his church.

“We kind of have a double whammy on us,” he said.

The rain kept coming down.

“We’re in God’s hands,” Foreman said. “We all know that.”

By Saturday afternoon, the Lumber River was 1 1/2 feet above flood stage. It could get as high as 25 feet before the storm is over, forecasters said. The county ordered mandatory evacuations for the southern part of Lumberton, and spokesperson Emily Jones urged people living in low-lying areas and mobile homes elsewhere in the county to seek shelter.

Many residents heeded the advice. Two of the county’s four shelters were already at capacity Saturday.

Deridre Hill is waiting out the storm at the Holiday Inn Express where she is an assistant manager. Two years ago, the flooding around her apartment was so bad that she and her family had to wait a week before they could be rescued by boat.

So when a firefighter advised them about the coming storm this time, she and her husband drove to a nearby dirt road, filled as many 13-gallon trash bags as they could carry full of soil, and positioned the makeshift sandbags outside their front and back doors. Then, they packed up their young two sons and left.

It’s nerve-racking not knowing what is happening to her home while she’s away, Hill said. But it would have been even more frightening to stay there.

“I’m just lucky I have somewhere to go,” she said.

In Fayetteville, where the Cape Fear River is forecast to rise an astonishing 45 feet by Tuesday, a mandatory evacuation order was issued Saturday.

But civil rights attorney Allen Rogers worried that people there in the most at-risk areas, in places with many African-American residents, wouldn’t trust an order coming from the police. “I know folks are sitting ducks, but people have a lot of pride and they don’t want to be in a shelter or they don’t have the resources to leave,” said Rogers, who is African-American.

During Matthew, he said, officials didn’t make an early effort to warn people about the danger. Four people in Fayetteville died during flash flooding from that storm.

This time, said Mayor Mitch Colvin, who also is African-American, he’s doing his best to ensure his city is prepared, as well as working closely with the community to make them feel supported – and to help them leave. Firefighters and police officers have been driving from neighborhood to neighborhood, explaining the risk and encouraging people to seek shelter.

“This one is deadly,” Colvin said. “They have to get out or risk being stuck – no one may be able to come and get you for days.”

If the forecasts are right, his city could experience 62 inches of flooding in the coming days. There is no holding back waters like that. All people can do is get out of the way.

In the coastal city of New Bern, North Carolina, on Friday, floodwaters had combined with the storm surge to deluge neighborhoods in as much as 10 feet of water – offering a preview of what other communities might endure.

By Saturday, the relentless wind and rain seemed to sap the color from the city. Everything was washed in tints of brown and gray.

Down one street, a refrigerator bobbed on its side. A boat that was normally parked in a back driveway had floated its way to the front door. In front of a house whose owners moved in last week, the water was up to the mailbox. A Jet Ski was the only mode of transportation.

Volunteers steered their rescue boats around the rounded tops of submerged cars like they were icebergs. In dryer areas, cars with wet leaves stuck to their sides lined up for gas only to have their drivers told that the power had just gone out, and there was no telling how long they’d have to wait.

The Waccamaw River in Conway, South Carolina, just outside of Myrtle Beach, had swollen to almost 10 feet Saturday afternoon – just below flood stage. It’s projected to hit 19.2 feet by the middle of next week – about a foot higher than the record set during Matthew.

In her living room overlooking the river, Lisa Skipper was packing valuables in trash bags that she and her husband, Ricky, were about to load into a U-Haul van parked outside. Everything else they couldn’t bring – pots, pans, table lamps, pantry items, bottles of alcohol and other items – was arranged on the kitchen counter, out of the reach of floodwaters.

The house was built in the 1960s and belongs to Ricky’s father, Earl, who evacuated earlier this week.

Living by a river that frequently floods has always been troublesome. Ricky Skipper said they built new floors in his father’s house in 2016 – only to replace them when Matthew hit, drenching the home in a foot and a half of water. Given the forecast for Florence, they will likely have to replace the floors again.

But the family, especially Earl, can’t imagine leaving the home that holds so many memories of his late wife, Frances.

“She loved this river. She lived on this river for a long time,” Lisa Skipper said, as she looked out the windows in the nearly empty living room.

As the Skippers finished loading their U-Haul, their neighbor, 21-year-old Emy Chamberlain, was walking her dog, Fergie. She said she and her family had evacuated ahead of the storm’s landfall and had just gotten back home Saturday. Now they could only wait to see what damage the flooding might bring.

Minor Girl Kidnapped From Navi Mumbai Found At New Delhi Railway Station

A minor girl allegedly kidnapped by a teen from Navi Mumbai earlier this month was traced to New Delhi railway station and rescued, a police official said today.

The 17-year-old girl was missing from Navi Mumbai since August 7 and, following a complaint by her parents, a case of kidnapping was registered under section 363 of the Indian Penal Code at Turbhe MIDC police station, the official said.

A team of the Turbhe MIDC police and the Navi Mumbai police’s Anti-Human Trafficking Cell rescued the girl from New Delhi on Wednesday and arrested an 18-year-old, identified as Mohammad Aslam Khan, who allegedly kidnapped the girl after promising to marry her, he said.

The official added that further probe into the matter was being carried out by Turbhe MIDC police.

 

How To Get A Duplicate Train Ticket? Charges And All Details Here

Lost your train ticket?  Well, you don’t need to worry as Indian Railways’ passengers can now get a duplicate train ticket on paying some amount of charges. According to Indian Railways portal- indianrail.gov.in, if the loss of confirmed/RAC ticket is reported before the preparation of the reservation chart, a duplicate ticket can be issued on collection of Rs. 50 per passenger for second and sleeper class and Rs. 100 per passenger for other classes. However, if the loss of confirmed ticket is reported after preparation of the reservation chart, a duplicate ticket can be issued on collection of 50 per cent of the fare.

Here are 5 things to know:

1. If the ticket that is confirmed or RAC is torn or mutilated, a duplicate ticket can be issued on collection of 25 per cent of the fare, after the preparation of reservation chart.  Before chart preparation, charges are same as applicable for issue of duplicate ticket in lieu of the lost/misplaced ticket.

2. No duplicate ticket can be issued in case of mutilated waitlisted tickets, said Indian Railways.

3. Besides, refund is admissible on torn/mutilated ticket if its genuineness and authenticity are verified on the basis of particulars visible on the face of such a ticket.

4. No duplicate ticket can be prepared after preparation of reservation chart in case of RAC tickets.

5. If the original ticket is found and presented along with duplicate ticket, before the departure of the train, passenger is refunded the amount paid for duplicate ticket, said Indian Railways. However, 5 per cent of the total amount is deducted, subject to a minimum of Rs. 20.

Here’s How You Can Transfer Your Confirmed Railway Ticket To Someone Else

Indian Railways offers the facility of transferring a confirmed ticket to somebody else by submitting a request at least 24 hours in advance of the scheduled departure of the train. According to railway’s website- indianrailways.gov.in, a person holding a confirmed ticket can transfer his/her ticket to family members viz, father, mother, brother, sister, son, daughter, husband or wife. Indian Railways’ ticket transfer facility can be availed for both offline and online tickets. For online tickets booked via IRCTC (Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation), passengers can visit the closest railway reservation office with a printed copy of e-reservation slip and make a request.

Here are key things to know about Indian Railways’ confirmed ticket transfer facility:

1. Railway ticket’s transfer request can be made only once.

2. Such a request shouldn’t exceed 10 per cent of the total number of group members, said Indian Railways.

3. Tickets can also be transferred to another government servant travelling on duty, at least 24 hours in advance of the scheduled departure of the train.

4.Tickets can also be transferred to other students of recognised educational institution when the principal/head makes a request at least 48 hours in advance of the scheduled departure of the train.

5. Tickets can even be transferred to other members of the marriage party, if the head of such a party makes a request at least 48 hours in advance of the scheduled departure of the train.

 

6. One can also transfer ticket to other cadets of NCC (National Cadet Corps), if the head of the group makes a request at least 24 hours in advance of the scheduled departure of the train.

Central Railway Notifies Teacher (On Contract) Recruitment

Central Railways has invited teaching job aspirants/ railway job seekers for 6 posts of part time teachers (on contract) at Secondary School (E.M) and Junior College, Kalyan for the scholastic year 2018-2019. Interested candidates can appear for the interview on August 24, 2018 (10 am to 5 pm). If not completed on the same day, the interview will be conducted on the next day. ‘Candidates should come prepared to stay in Mumbai for a minimum period of 3 days for viva. This may be extended depending on response of the candidates to notification and for completion of all formalities. No accommodation shall be provided for the candidates for interview,’ reads the official notification.

Candidates with M.A. (Economics) and B.Ed./ M.Com. and B.Ed./ M.A. (English) and B.Ed./ B.A. (Arts) preference with English B.Ed./ B.A. (English) and B.Ed./ 12th standard pass with D.Ed (Urdu medium). Candidates must be in the age group of 18-65 years.

Vacancy Details

  • PGT Economics: 1 post
  • PGT Business Studies: 1 post
  • PGT English: 1 post
  • TGT English: 1 post
  • PRT: 1 post
  • Primary Teacher (Urdu): 1 post

The scheme will be valid for maximum 200 working days and minimum period of 7 working days or availability of a regularly selected candidate whichever is earliest.

Railway Recruitment Exams To Happen Today, Postponed In Kerala

The railways yesterday said the Railway Recruitment Board exams scheduled for today for the post of assistant loco pilots and technicians will go ahead as per schedule.

The announcement came in the backdrop of a half-day holiday declared for all central government departments today in the wake of former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s demise.

“We are announcing that today’s RRB exam will be conducted in all the three shifts as per schedule. This is being done through the RRB websites. Individual SMS-es are also being sent to about 4.36 lakh candidates,” Rajesh Bajpai, Director, Information and Publicity, Indian Railways, said.

He, however, added that due to the worsening flood situation in Kerala, it was not possible to conduct the exam in the southern state today.

 

 

After Mughalsarai, Uttar Pradesh Government Wants To Rename Airports

The Uttar Pradesh government has approached the centre for its approval to rename the airports in Bareilly, Kanpur and Agra, a move that comes close on the heels of rechristening the iconic Mughalsarai Railway Station in the state after Deendayal Upadhyay.

Since all the three are defence airports, the state government and the Airports Authority of India are in the process of consultations at various levels to facilitate flyers under the regional connectivity scheme, an official spokesman said today.

According to a proposal from the state civil aviation department, the Bareilly airport is to be named ‘Nath Nagri’, which is believed to be an ancient name of the city for its history of having ardent worshippers of Lord Shiva.

Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, who belongs to the Nath sect, had earlier renamed the civil terminals of the Indian Air Force’s Gorakhpur airport.

The civil terminal of Gorakhpur airport was named after Maha Yogi Gorakhnath, founder of ‘Nath Pant’ (monastic movement). The chief minister is the ‘Mahant’ (priest) of Gorakhnath temple.

Uttar Pradesh Civil Aviation Minister Nand Gopal Nandi said renaming of the three airports was long awaited.

“We have reached out to the centre to get the airports renamed. A meeting with the union ministry of Civil Aviation is expected soon,” he said.

The proposal speaks about Bareilly in great detail. It says that the city is surrounded on all sides by as many as seven Lord Shiva temples–Alakhnath, Trivatinath, Marhinath, Dhopeshwarnath, Vankhandinath, Tapeshwarnath and Pashupatinath.

Kanpur’s Chakeri airport is proposed to be named after freedom fighter Ganesh Shankar Vidyarthi. The proposal says that Kanpur was earlier known as Kanha Pur and was founded by Sachendi King Hindu Singh.

Indian Railways puts over 200 Trains against one another to determine the Cleanest One

In order to keep trains clean over 200 of them have been put up against one another to get the top rating as the cleanest in a first of its kind cleanliness survey undertaken by Indian Railways. A similar survey was conducted on stations across the country as part of the Swachch Bharat Abhiyan in 2016.

A total of 475 rakes of these 210 trains are to be audited out of which 386 rakes have already been surveyed.

The survey is being conducted by a third party auditor engaged by IRCTC, an official said.

“Such independent survey on the cleanliness of important trains will be carried out every year and is expected to bring a sense of pride and competition among the zonal railways and maintenance depots. The survey of trains is expected to be completed in a couple of months,” an official said.

The assessment will include  checking on board facilities- conditions of toilets, equipment,  tools, manpower, vestibules, doorways, dustbin, linen, pest management, watering, waste management, on board housekeeping staff and on arrival at stations. Each category has points assigned to it with the highest priority given to the condition of toilets.

The checking starts right before the trains start their route till the arrival at the destination. The passengers’ feedback as well as the audit will contribute to the results.

 

Upgrading Yesvantpur-Hosur Railway Track can ease much of East and South Bengaluru’s Traffic Woes

Karnataka’s capital Bengaluru is not known to be much of a rail-based city. In fact, it has a very substandard railway network compared to other cities of its stature such as Chennai, Pune and Hyderabad. In his budget speech in February this year, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley announced the allocation of Rs 17,000 crore to develop a 160-kilometre commuter rail system (CRS) or suburban line for the city.

Of the few railway lines spanning the information technology (IT) capital of India, the one with the most potential is also the most underutilised – the 66 km-long line connecting Yesvantpur Junction (YPR) and Hosur (HSRA) in Tamil Nadu passes through Lottegollahalli, Hebbal, Banaswadi, Bellandur Road, Carmelaram, Heelalige and Anekal Road before crossing the inter-state border.

While a dedicated train was flagged off from Banaswadi towards Heelalige in March, this only solves part of the problem.

So How Can This One Track Solve Such A Large Problem?

The YPR-HSRA track connects several crucial localities that are both commercial and residential in nature. It partly mirrors the highly congested eastern crescent of Outer Ring Road and parts of Hosur Road.

The entire line is currently a single non-electrified track. It needs to be doubled and electrified and South Western Railways (SWR) needs to start running both regular electrical multiple units (EMUs) and air-conditioned (AC) EMUs. Mumbai got AC EMUs earlier this year and the response has been positive. Bengaluru, too, needs AC local trains given that the city has the highest number of AC buses on its roads.

Almost all stations on the route are important. Hebbal station lies to the west of the Hebbal flyover, which is a major intersection along Outer Ring Road and Bellary Road, leading to the Kempegowda International Airport (KIA). A branch line connects Byapanahalli station on the Bangalore-Chennai railway line, where the Purple line of the Namma Metro terminates currently.

Bellandur Road is an important station located near a densely populated residential and commercial area that has a preponderance of IT firms.

Carmelaram station lies at the intersection of Sarjapur Road, which is home to a large Wipro campus among other commercial ventures. The most crucial station on the stretch from a commuter perspective, however, is Heelalige station.

Located 2 km off Hosur Road, Heelalige station is barely 7 km south of Electronics City – Bengaluru’s largest concentration of IT parks. By road, Heelalige station currently is around 10 minutes to Electronics City and that is due to the fact that the road leading to the station is a narrow one. If the road from the station to Chandapura circle on Hosur Road is widened to four lanes, it would reduce the travel time significantly. Between Chandapura and Electronics City, the six-lane Hosur Road provides fast connectivity.

So, What Needs To Be Done?

The first step towards building the CRS in Bengaluru – on all lines, not just the one being discussed – is to set up a special purpose vehicle (SPV) on the lines of the Mumbai Rail Vikas Corporation (MRVC). The MRVC is a joint venture between Indian Railways and the government of Maharashtra to expand the infrastructure for Mumbai’s Suburban Rail. Karnataka had signed an agreement towards the setting up of an SPV last year.

The second step would be doubling and electrifying the entire line, including the branch line passing through Byapanahalli station. It is important that the powers at work ensure that the start of the line is at Yesvantpur via Hebbal and not just at Byapanahalli.

The third step would be to give all the stations en route a complete overhaul. All stations must be given proper raised platforms that are fully covered, feature footbridges or subways to cross tracks, proper entrances and exits with parking areas and bus stations. SWR can look at commercialisation of the railway property once footfalls increase.

An intermediary step would be to add more railway stations on the route. Between Banaswadi and Bellandur Road, there are no stations. An additional station can be built to cater to parts of C V Raman Nagar. The Bellandur Road station must be upgraded to cater to localities such as Marathahalli and Varthur.

The fourth step would be to get the Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) to start operating feeder buses from the new railway stations to the localities they serve. Buses should ideally be a mix of AC and non-AC vehicles so that every potential commuter is covered.

For example, BMTC can run a bus from Carmelaram station along the length of Sarjapur Road, covering the Wipro campus and the residential neighbourhoods around it. Buses can be run from Bellandur Road to various tech parks along Outer Ring Road. Lastly, buses must be run between Heelalige and Electronics City – covering Phase 1 and 2 of the tech district along with residential localities such as Neeladri and Begur.

The upcoming Yellow Line of the Namma Metro connects the R V Road terminal with Bommasandra. The terminal station is roughly 5 km north of Heelalige station. The Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation (BMRCL) should logically explore the feasibility of extending the line, first to Narayana Hrudayalaya and then to Heelalige.

From Yesvantpur, three tracks head north. The main line heads to Tumkur before going towards Hubbali and Belagavi and ultimately Pune. The remaining two lines proceed towards Lottegolahalli after which they split. While one line heads towards Yelahanka en route to Hyderabad, the other line continues on towards Hebbal. The line that connects to Yelahanka then connects to Devanahalli, passing below the approach road to KIA. SWR should explore the feasibility of building a station in the vicinity and also a new track that can take trains from Hosur towards KIA.

If government bodies from both the Centre and state come together to expand the YPR-HSRA line using the suggestions made, it would certainly reduce the time the average Bengalurean spends stuck in traffic jams. Who knows, for it might even make traffic jams at Central Silk Board, a thing of the past

Dispute with Railways over dues could hold up Chennai Metro Rail work

Even as Chennai Metro Rail Ltd (CMRL) has opened key stations like Central and Egmore connecting the terminal railway stations, the state agency is involved in a bitter financial feud with Southern Railway over payment of dues to the tune of Rs 275 crore.

Documents accessed by TOI show that Southern Railway demanded unpaid dues of Rs 275.88 crore from metro rail for tunnels that cross railway land and land-use charges. Southern Railway has indicated that if the charges are not paid, it might not be able to permit metro rail to carry out further work at these locations.

Union railway minister Piyush Goyal wrote to Tamil Nadu chief minister Edappadi Palaniswami in February, asking CMRL to pay its dues.

But metro rail on May 16 wrote an eight-page letter to Southern Railway, saying the calculations were wrong and instead Southern Railway should pay Rs 215.81 crore to CMRL.

A data sheet attached by metro rail said it had paid Rs 485.72 crore to the railways. The actual amount payable was Rs 269.90 crore.

Under railway policy, metro rail must pay 99% of the market value of the land as ‘railway land crossing charges’ if the depth of the tunnel’s roof is less than 15m.

The depth of tunnels in the approach to Chennai Egmore is less than 15m — a fact that CMRL did not inform the railways about, Southern Railway said in a letter. It did not take permission to operate the tunnel boring machines on the line either. “Metro rail violated norms of working,” the letter said.

However, metro rail raised five objections. It challenged the application of tunnel crossing charges stating that there was no guideline on construction of tunnels at a depth of less than 15m. “The tunnel design allows Southern Railway to undertake future expansion, operation and maintenance without any hindrance,” CMRL said.

Metro rail stated that railways had incorrectly applied a 7% escalation over the guideline value while calculating land charges. It has also contested the railway’ s calculation of actual extent of land in Guindy, Egmore, Central and Washermenpet.

Railway has also billed CMRL Rs 3.43 crore for traffic diversion at Chennai Central which the latter has opposed. “Around 378sqm was given to railways to shift parking for autorickshaws and taxi bay. CMRL also constructed a foot over-bridge for smooth crossing,” metro rail said.

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