Indian Railways News

Indian Railways News

Railways Registers Best Ever Safety Record In 2019-20

The Indian Railways recorded its best-ever safety performance during the past year with zero passenger deaths due to rail accidents.

While the Railways registered the best ever safety record between April 2019 and March 2020, there has been no death of rail passengers in any train accident in the subsequent period also between April 1 and June 8 this year.

An official release said that the remarkable feat has been achieved for the first time in 2019-2020 since the introduction of Railway System in India 166 years ago in 1853.

It said the zero passenger fatalities in the last 15 months is a result of continuous efforts by the railways to improve safety performance in all respects.

The release said that safety being the topmost priority, the measures undertaken for safety improvement include elimination of manned level crossings, construction of Road over Bridges (ROBs) and Road under Bridges (RUBs), rehabilitation of bridges, highest ever renewal of rail tracks and highest ever supply of rails during the year from SAIL.

Other measures taken include effective track maintenance, stringent monitoring of safety aspects, improved training of railway staff, improvements in signalling system, use of modern technology for safety works and switching over to modern and safer LHB coaches in phases from the conventional ICF coaches.

The Railways removed a record number of manned level crossings to enhance safety.

“Record number of 1274 Manned Level Crossings have been eliminated in 2019-20 compared to 631 in 2018-19 (double of that done in last year). This is highest ever elimination of level crossings,” the release said.

It said a 1309 ROBs/RUBs were constructed in 2019-20 to enhance safety on the railway network and 1367 bridges were “rehabilitated during 2019-20 compared to 1013 (+37 per cent of last year)”.

The Railways saw the highest ever renewal of rails for 5,181 track km (TKM) in 2019-20 against 4,265 TKM in 2018-19, which comes to 20 per cent of last year.

There was highest ever supply of rails (13.8 lakh ton) during the year from SAIL. “With supply of 6.4 Lakh ton long rails, the scope of field welding decreased drastically leading to better reliability of asset,” the release said.

It said 285 level crossings (LC) have been interlocked by signals in 2019-20 and the cumulative interlocked LC numbers are 11,639.

To improve safety, mechanical signalling at 84 stations was replaced with electrical/electronic signalling during 2019-20.

Provide Demand On Need Of Trains For Migrants: Railways To States

The Railways has written to the states asking them to provide a “comprehensive residual” demand for Shramik Special trains to ferry migrants to their homes by June 10, hours after the Supreme Court directed the Centre to complete the process in the next 15 days.

The Railways has run more than 4,347 Shramik Special trains to transport approximately 60 lakh persons to their destination states since May 1.

In a letter to the Chief Secretaries of the states, Railway Board Chairman VK Yadav said the Supreme Court has directed that in event of any additional demand – in addition to the demand of 171 Shramik trains already projected by the states/UTs – the Railways shall provide Shramik Special trains within a period of 24 hours of the request of states/UTs to facilitate the movement of migrant workers.

“In this context, you may please advise the comprehensive residual demand for Shramik Special Trains for the movement of stranded workers from your state/UT along with the number of travellers, originating station, destination station, schedule and dates by which the transportation shall be completed.

“The details may kindly be communicated through an official letter by June 10,” he said in the letter issued on Tuesday.

The Supreme Court on Tuesday directed the Centre and state governments to send all the migrant workers to their native places within 15 days and formulate employment schemes after conducting their skill mapping to rehabilitate them.

A bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan, Sanjay Kishan Kaul and M R Shah also directed the Centre to provide additional trains within 24 hours of states making the demand for sending the migrant workers back to their native places.

Pakistan Railways Minister, Former Prime Minister Test Positive For Coronavirus

Pakistan’s former Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and incumbent Railways Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmad have tested positive for coronavirus on Monday.

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) spokesperson Maryam Aurangzeb confirmed that 61-year-old Shahid Abbasi has been infected by the virus.

Mr Abbasi, who is the Senior Vice President of the PML-N, served as prime minister from August 2017 to May 2018 after his party leader Nawaz Sharif was de-seated by a court ruling in a corruption case.

He has gone into self-isolation at his house after receiving the COVID-19 test report on Monday, party officials said.

Railways Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmad also tested positive for coronavirus, a statement by his office said.

“Sheikh Rashid has tested positive for COVID-19,” the statement said, adding that he has gone into self-isolation and will remain in quarantine for two weeks as per doctors’ advice.

Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) leader and former provincial minister Sharjeel Memon had tested positive for coronavirus on Sunday.

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s provincial lawmaker Chaudhry Ali Akhtar also tested positive for the virus, his spokesperson said.

The spokesperson shared that Mr Akhtar is in home isolation and has gotten himself tested after showing symptoms of the virus. Mr Akhtar was elected from Punjab Assembly’s Faisalabad III in the 2018 elections.

At least four lawmakers, including a provincial minister, have died due to coronavirus in Pakistan.

Five persons, including two officers, at Pakistan’s Foreign Office have tested positive for coronavirus, Foreign Office spokesperson Aisha Farooqui said on Sunday, adding that the cases emerged in the office within the past week.

Pakistan’s coronavirus cases crossed the 1,00,000-mark on Sunday and the infection is spreading fast in the country.

East Coast Railway To Reward Babies Born In Shramik Trains

Babies born on board Shramik Special trains will now be presented gifts by the East Coast Railway, which pioneered the noble concept by rewarding the mother of a newborn on Friday.

The gifts, to be given by ECoR officials on a voluntary basis, will be in the form of cash or kind, said a railway official.

All over Indian Railways, there is good news of babies being born on Shramik Special trains which is considered as a good and auspicious omen, the official added.

The geographical jurisdiction of the ECoR zone extends over three states encompassing almost all of Odisha and Bastar, Mahasamund & Dantewada districts of Chhattisgarh and Srikakulam district of Andhra Pradesh.

The zonal headquarters is at Bhubaneswar. The zone has three divisions– Sambalpur, Khurda Road and Waltair.

ECoR General Manager, Vidya Bhushan, on Friday made an announcement that officials of the railway zone, on personal and voluntary basis, will sponsor a gift coupon to the new born babies in the jurisdiction of the zone, he said.

As a noble gesture, the GM , himself sent a gift amount of Rs 5,000 for the baby born aboard a Shramik Special at Titilagarh in Odisha” Balangir district on Friday morning.

The gift was sent to the child’s 19-year-old mother, Meena Kumbhar, he said.

The migrant woman, who was returning home in Odisha after being stuck in Telangana due to a lockdown, gave birth to a baby on Balangir-bound special train this morning.

Other senior officials have come forward to sponsor gift items in subsequent cases, if any, of babies born in Shramik Special trains.

Since Shramik Special service started in May to carry stranded migrant workers to their home states during lockdown, as many as 37 children have been born on board these trains and on railway premises in different parts of the country, an ECoR spokesperson said.

In ECoR jurisdiction, three babies have been born and all the three newborn along with their mothers were properly shifted to government hospitals.

Of the three babies, two were born at Titilagarh and one at Balangir, he said in a statement.

Indian Railways plans smarter, more efficient working ways to make up for COVID-19 losses

Indian Railways has a fixed cost, therefore there is certain stress which is associated with this period of fighting the COVID-19 crisis.

Indian Railways eyes smarter, more efficient ways! In a recent interview with IE, Railway Minister Piyush Goyal has said that while it is too early to make financial calculations of the impact of COVID-19 on Indian Railways, the national transporter is looking at smarter ways to operate. Goyal said that with the best of economies are seeing a resurgence or second wave of novel coronavirus pandemic, the Railway Ministry will have to wait and watch before doing their financial calculations. According to the minister, Indian Railways has a fixed cost, therefore there is certain stress which is associated with this period of fighting the COVID-19 crisis. The focus of the national transporter in this period has been the moving of foodgrains, coal, fertilizers as well as Shramik Special trains to their destinations, he said.

But, Indian Railways is simultaneously working through separate teams, on many of the initiatives which were started by the Railway Ministry before the COVID-19 crisis and some more initiatives which have been added by the ministry during the COVID-19 period, he said. The minister further said that he wishes to add more initiatives, more smart as well as efficient ways of working to make up for the losses of this crisis period.

The Railway Minister claimed that every single aspect, whether it is a freight train or Shramik Special train, is monitored thrice a day. So far, Indian Railways has already reached 70 per cent of its normal freight. For foodgrains, the national transporter almost did 185 per cent in this period. Indian Railways is also engaging with all stakeholders every day

Besides freight trains, Indian Railways is running several passenger train services across its network during this lockdown period. From 1 June 2020, the national transporter started operations of 200 special trains on the Indian Railways network, in addition to the existing 30 Special AC trains as well as several Shramik Special trains. The newly added special trains are fully reserved passenger train services, consisting of AC/non AC coaches. The general coaches of these trains have reserved sitting accommodation for passengers.

Purvanchal Expressway: 10 things to know about India’s longest expressway project in Uttar Pradesh

After a delay of almost two months due to the COVID-19 induced nationwide lockdown, hectic efforts are underway to complete the expressway project by this year-end, months ahead of the official deadline of April 2021.

Purvanchal Expressway: India’s longest expressway – the Purvanchal Expressway in Uttar Pradesh is likely to be completed by the end of the year! After a delay of almost two months due to the COVID-19 induced nationwide lockdown, hectic efforts are underway to complete the expressway project by this year-end, months ahead of the official deadline of April 2021, as reported by FE. The foundation stone of the Purvanchal Expressway project was laid by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Azamgarh, located in the state of Uttar Pradesh in July 2018. The Purvanchal Expressway is a Rs 22,500 crore project. Here, take a look at the top 10 things to know about the upcoming Purvanchal Expressway project:

1) The six-lane (expandable to eight lanes) access-controlled Purvanchal Expressway, which is 341 kilometres long, originating from Lucknow’s Chand Sarai to Haidaria in Ghazipur district, is being developed on an EPC (engineering, procurement and construction) basis

2) The Purvanchal Expressway will provide seamless connectivity between nine predominantly agricultural districts of eastern Uttar Pradesh and Lucknow.

3) Besides, it will also connect them to Delhi via the 302-km long Agra-Lucknow Expressway as well as the 165-km long Agra-Greater Noida Yamuna Expressway.

4) The Purvanchal Expressway will pass through most backward districts of the state including, Azamgarh, Barabanki, Amethi, Sultanpur, Ayodhya, Ambedkarnagar, Ghazipur and Mau.

5) Thus, it is being expected that the Purvanchal Expressway will transform the under-developed region as well as usher in economic prosperity.

6) Besides, enhancing the prospects for tourism in the state of Uttar Pradesh, the Purvanchal Expressway is also likely to give a boost to agriculture, industrial and commercial activities.

7) It is also being said that the expressway would attract investment in the food processing, warehousing, handloom as well as dairy sectors, boosting the region and the state’s growth.

8) The Purvanchal Expressway is also expected to provide several other benefits such as time-saving, control in pollution level, fuel-saving, reduction in accidents, etc.

9) Durgesh Upadhyay, media advisor in UPEIDA has recently informed that as against 10,000 workers before the lockdown period, only 5,500 workers are working at the site at present. But, the companies working on the 8 packages have been asked to operate at full throttle and expedite the work.

10) He further informed that over 80 per cent of the earthwork has been done and nearly 48 per cent of the project’s physical work has been completed. By increasing the size of the workforce, the remaining 52 per cent work will be done within the targetted timeline, he said.


IRCTC Special Trains: From today, Indian Railways to start 200 more trains; waitlist, tatkal rules explained

There will be reserved sitting accommodation in the General class coaches and there will be no unreserved coaches on the train

IRCTC Special Trains: From today onwards, Indian Railways is all set to run 200 IRCTC Special trains! In addition to the Shramik Special and Special AC train services, Piyush Goyal-led Indian Railways is starting operations of 200 passenger services from today. According to the Railway Ministry, more than 1.45 lakh passengers will travel on day 1 of 200 trains, starting on 1 June 2020. Thes regular pattern fully reserved trains will comprise of both AC and Non-AC coaches. There will be reserved sitting accommodation in the General class coaches and there will be no unreserved coaches on the train. At 09.00 hours on 31 May 2020, the total passenger bookings were 25,82,671.

IRCTC special trains from June 1: Booking, cancellation, refund rules

1. RAC/Wait list will be generated by Indian Railways as per extant rules.

2. During the journey, no unreserved (UTS) tickets will be issued as well as no tickets will be issued on board.

3. Only fully confirmed and RAC passengers, partially Waitlisted Ticket holders will be allowed, while Waitlisted passengers will not be allowed.

4. The Tatkal tickets can be booked from 9 June 2020 for journey date 30 June 2020 and onwards.

5. Indian Railways will prepare the first chart at least four hours and second chart at least two hours before the train’s scheduled departure.

6. For these Special trains, Railway Passengers (Cancellation of Ticket and Refund of Fare) Rules, 2015 will be applicable.

7. A passenger despite having confirmed tickets will not be allowed to travel if he/she has a very high temperature or symptoms of novel coronavirus. In such cases, full refund will be granted on PNR having single passenger.

8. Full refund will be granted to all passengers, if on a party ticket, one passenger is found unfit and cannot travel as well as all other passengers on the same PNR who do not want to travel.

9. Full refund will be granted to the passenger if on a party ticket, he/she is found unfit and cannot travel while refund will be not be granted to others on the same PNR who want to travel.

10. The charges for catering will not be included in the fare. For these Special train services, provision for pre paid booking of meals, e-catering will be disabled. However, provision for limited food items and packaged water will be made by IRCTC on payment basis only in limited trains with attached pantry car.

Those travelling by these IRCTC special train services, take a look at the following guidelines:

  • It is mandatory for passengers to wear face covers/masks at the entry and during the journey.
  • Passengers will have to reach the station 90 minutes in advance in order to facilitate thermal screening. Those passengers who are found to be asymptomatic will be able to board the train. Observing social distancing is a must.
  • The passengers will have to follow the health protocols that have been prescribed by the destination state/UT, on arriving the destination.
  • Downloading of Aarogya Setu mobile application is a must.
  • Inside these trains, linen, blankets and curtains will not be provided.
  • Tickets can be booked through IRCTC website or app. Also, passengers can visit the reservation counters, Common Service Centers as well as ticketing agents to book their tickets.

Indian Railways says ready to run trains for migrants on states’ demand; 3,840 Shramik trains run till May 28

According to Yadav, in the last week itself on an average as many as 3 lakh migrants have been transporetd through trains on a daily basis.

Shramik special trains: Piyush Goyal-led Indian Railways has stated that it is ready to run Shramik special trains as per the demands of the originating state. “Indian Railways is ready to run Shramik special trains on demand, we need only a day’s time after the state raises the demand. The demand for trains from originating states has gone down,” VK Yadav, Chairman Railway Board said while addressing a press conference. “We are also running MEMUs and DEMUs in states like Bihar and UP for intra-state movement for the convenience of migrants arriving in these states,” Yadav said.

According to Yadav, in the last week itself on an average as many as 3 lakh migrants have been transporetd through trains on a daily basis. “From May 1 to May 28, we have run 3,840 Shramik special trains moving as many as 52 lakh passengers,” Yadav said.

According to the Railway Board, some of the special features of Shramik Movement include health and screening protocols, meals for passengers including, breakfast, lunch, dinner (the meals are being served at en-route stations and not on board), food and water provided by the state governments at starting stations, meals and water arranged by IRCTC and Railway Divisions for Shramiks in trains en route, distribution of more than 85 lakh meals and 1.25 crore water bottles for free. Also, the Railway Board stated that NGOs supplemented efforts as well as local halwais, bakeries were mobilized by Railway Divisions at various stations to prepare snacks and foods for Shramik passengers.

Also, due to the current COVID-19 crisis, there has been uncertainty in demand. As per railway capacity, it was not a 24 hour steady flow, the board stated. The originations of Shramik Special trains took place after completing all the local protocols by the state mostly in post noon 16-24 shift. Thus, this left one third route capacity per day to handle these trains. On arrival, all passengers were registered and screened by state governments, which limited the capacity of terminals to handle trains. As against 20 minutes taken in normal trains, it took one to three hours in releasing the train at terminals, the Railway Board said.

Lastly, to protect those who are vulnerable to COVID-19, the Railway Board asked passengers with co-morbidities such as cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, hypertension, cancer, immune deficiency conditions as well as pregnant women, children below 10 years and people above 65 years to avoid train travel, except when it is really urgent.

IRCTC special train tickets: Booking & cancellation of train tickets possible at post offices too!

The train ticket booking or cancellation facility for IRCTC special trains is also available at Indian Railways‘ computerized Passenger Reservation System (PRS) counters in railway premises or reservation centers as well as Common Service Centers (CSC).

Book IRCTC special train tickets at post offices as well! With effect from 22 May 2020 i.e., Piyush Goyal-led Indian Railways has opened the facility of booking or cancellation of reserved train tickets at Post Offices. Other than Post Offices, the ticket booking or cancellation facility has also resumed in Yatri Ticket Suvidha Kendra (YTSK) licensees as well as through authorized agents of IRCTC (Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation). The train ticket booking or cancellation facility for IRCTC special trains is also available at Indian Railways’ computerized Passenger Reservation System (PRS) counters in railway premises or reservation centers as well as Common Service Centers (CSC).

According to Railway Ministry, the zonal railways have been instructed by the national transporter to decide and notify the opening of reservation counters for booking or cancellation of tickets as per local needs and conditions. According to the ministry, as per the existing protocols, the running of Shramik Special train services will continue to be handled by state Governments. Besides, Indian Railways is also running 15 pairs of AC passenger train services. The advance reservation period for these special 15 pairs of AC trains has been extended from 7 days to 30 days. The Railway Ministry announced that in addition to these trains, 200 special passenger train services will start operating from 1 June 2020. The online ticket bookings for the upcoming special trains started on the IRCTC website and IRCTC app from May 21.

Meanwhile, recently it has been reported that a drive was conducted by the Railway Protection Force (RPF) as Indian Railways had received several complaints regarding the touts of e-tickets using multiple personal ids, cornering reserved berths in the special trains. This drive was launched by RPF on 20 May 2020. Under this drive, 14 touts including eight IRCTC agents have been arrested as well as tickets worth Rs 6,36,727 have been recovered by the RPF.

IRCTC special trains: Passengers note new ticket booking, RAC, waitlisting rules for 15 pairs of AC specials

From the existing 7 days, the Advance Reservation Period (ARP) of these Special AC trains will be increased to 30 days. For these Special AC trains, there will be no Tatkal booking facility.

IRCTC special trains new ticket booking rules: With effect from 12 May 2020, Piyush Goyal-led Indian Railways has been running 15 pairs of special air-conditioned train services. Besides, the national transporter is also operating several Shramik Special trains from 1 May 2020 onwards. Recently, in addition to these trains, the Railway Ministry also made an announcement to run as many as 200 non-AC train services with effect from June 1. However, for the convenience of the passengers, the ministry has decided to revise certain ticket booking rules of the 15 pairs of Special AC trains.

For these Special AC trains, there will be no Tatkal booking facility.

In these special trains, RAC / Waiting list train tickets will be issued as per extant instructions applicable. However, as per extant instructions, waitlisted passengers will not be allowed to board these AC Special trains.

Unlike the earlier practice of 30 minutes, the first chart will be generated at least four hours before the train’s scheduled departure and the second chart will be generated at least two hours before the train’s scheduled departure. The current booking facility for these trains will be allowed in between the first and second charts.

The tickets for the Special trains can be booked through computerized PRS counters including Yatri Ticket Suvidha Kendra (YTSK) licensees, Post Offices, etc. Besides, ticket booking can also be done online including through authorized agents of Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) as well as Common Service Centres.

According to the ministry, these revised ticket booking rules will be in effect from train booking date 24 May and for trains starting date of 31 May onwards.