Indian Railways News

Flexi-fare in Premium Trains to be tweaked: says Chairman/Railway Board

Railway Board chairman Ashwani Lohani today hinted at a change in flexi-fare system in premium trains, saying there will be some tweaking which will benefit both passengers and railways.

Lohani, who earlier headed Air India, said flexi pricing structure works well in competitive transportation like the airlines, where private operators vie with each other to increase occupancy.

But when it comes to trains, the Indian Railways is the only passenger service operator and flexi-fare system may not be conducive for passengers, the Railway Board chairman said.

In the present flexi-fare system, train fares go up as soon as a certain number of seats are booked in premium trains.

“There will be some tweaking in some areas which will be beneficial to both passengers and the railways,” Lohani said.

Railway minister Piyush Goyal had earlier said that instead of flexi-fares, a dynamic pricing system was being considered where discounts could be given during off season.

The fares would automatically adjust through artificial intelligence, algorithms or technology, to help trains have more occupancy, thus maximising revenues, the minister had said.

On a visit to the city to review progress of work in Eastern, South Eastern and Metro Railways headquartered here, the chairman said that overall punctuality of passenger trains stood at 70 to 75 per cent.

“While punctuality is an issue, safety is also of great concern and we have laid utmost stress on track maintenance and repairs,” he said.

Stating that track maintenance work leads to delay in train movement, he said this is a vicious circle but safety is foremost and has been given priority over punctuality.

Lohani, an officer with the Indian Railway Service of Mechanical Engineers, who was brought back from Air India to head the Railway Board in August 2017 after a string of accidents, assured that once track maintenance work has been streamlined and safety issues are taken care of, punctuality of trains would rise.

DLW/Varanasi converts WAGC3-class Diesel Locomotive from Diesel to Electric Traction

VARANASI: Indian Railways creates history! Indian Railways production unit, Diesel Locomotive Works (DLW), has for the first time converted a locomotive from diesel to electric traction. A WAGC3-class diesel locomotive has been converted to electric and the new indigenous ‘Make in India’ engine delivers 5,000 HP.

Indian Railways creates history! Indian Railways production unit, Diesel Locomotive Works (DLW), has for the first time converted a locomotive from diesel to electric traction. A WAGC3-class diesel locomotive has been converted to electric and the new indigenous ‘Make in India’ engine delivers 5,000 HP, which is a 92% increase from the on rail track 2,600 HP of the older version of the locomotive. This 5,000 HP unit is one half of a 10,000 HP locomotive, says Indian Railways. According to the national transporter, two diesel locomotives have been converted to one “permanently coupled 12-axle, electric locomotive” of 10,000 HP. “The older diesel locomotive had 3,200 HP, but on track it was 2,600 HP. In case of electric there is no loss of HP and two engines are required, so two 5,000 HP locos have been coupled to yield an 10,000 HP,” a senior railway official told.

Led by the first woman GM of DLW, Rashmi Goyel, the project is a definite step forward towards reducing carbon emissions and introducing new age technology in Indian Railways. A team of engineers from DLW, BHEL, RDSO and CLW worked on the project which was completed under the guidance of Member Traction of Railway Board, Ghansyam Singh. The work on the ambitious and historic project began on December 22, 2017 and the new locomotive was dispatched on February 28, 2018. From concept to execution the conversion of the diesel locomotive to electric was carried out in just 69 days! The new electric locomotive is a prototype which will now be tested for further improvements.

Indian Railways and its officials chose a locomotive that was due for a mid-life rehabilitation. It was decided that the traction motors, bogies and chassis of the older diesel engine would be retained. A roof and sidewalls of a decommissioned WAM4-class electric locomotive were used. DLW made the drawings for modification of the locomotive, while RDSO prepared the equipment layout.

BHEL worked on the power drive of the locomotive along with RDSO. A WAG7 class electrics was chosen to work with the existing traction motors, says Indian Railways. One challenge that railway engineers faced was the fact that of electric control since electric locomotives have dual cabins, while traditionally diesel engines have single cabins. That meant that the control wiring for around 9 kilometres had to be adapted accordingly.

Indian Railways has already started work on modifying the chassis of another locomotive unit. According to Indian Railways, a twin CoCo, WAGC3 would equal power of almost four WDG3A. This, hopes Indian Railways, will enhance the average speeds of freight trains.

Meanwhile, Indian Railways is also testing its new 12,000 HP electric locomotive that has been manufactured by Alstom at a factory in Bihar’s Madhepura. This locomotive is part of ‘Make in India’ order placed by Indian Railways for 800 electric locomotives. Two new diesel electric locomotives have also recently been delivered to Indian Railways by GE as part of an over $2 billion ‘Make in India’ project that involves both import and manufacture of 1,000 locomotives.

CRB reviews South Eastern Railway’s Performance in a High Level Meeting at SER HQrs/Garden Reach

Ashwani Lohani, Chairman, Railway Board and Ex-Officio Principal Secretary, Govt. of India held a high level review meeting with the General Manager, South Eastern Railway, S. N Agrawal & all other Principal Head of the Departments to review and evaluate the performance of S E Railway at this Railway’s Headquarters, Garden Reach this morning (03.03.18).

Ashwani Lohani reviewed the various key activities of South Eastern Railway and laid emphasis on safety with special focus on track maintenance and cleanliness in trains as well as stations. Elaborate discussions were held on railway’s earnings from freight and passenger traffic, capacity enhancement of railway projects etc.

Ashwani Lohani instructed the railway officers about bringing changes in work culture in every sphere and advised the officials to deliver with changed attitude. While mentioning about railway’s highly committed work force, Lohani gave emphasis on staff enrichment and upliftment.

Before conducting the meeting, Lohani inspected S E Railway Central Hospital, Garden Reach to witness the upgraded medical facilities available. He visited the Burn Unit, Modular Operation Theatre and Surgical ICU to review the infrastructural facilities at the hospital and also met with the patients. While appreciating the health care facilities provided to the patients, Lohani complimented for having such turnkey projects in a single premises and lauded the performance of S E Railway.

Rail Sensor Technology Expert ‘Frauscher’ expands its Bengaluru base

BENGALURU: By moving to a new office in Bengaluru, Frauscher India has strengthened its ability to meet the requirements it faces. “The potential that we discovered in India is in fact even greater than we initially thought. Additionally, we have established our product presence in SEA countries, such as Malaysia, Indonesia, Myanmar and Korea”, says Alok Sinha, Managing Director of Frauscher India. “Within only five years, the location grew from two to approximately 100 employees. We established a dedicated R&D team and increased our order backlog to 40 million euros.” The opening of the new office was celebrated on 15 February 2018. After a meet and greet, which was followed by the official inauguration, all participants gathered at the Shangri-La Hotel Bengaluru for an evening event. There, Michael Thiel, CEO Frauscher Sensor Technology spoke about the visions of Frauscher. Akhilesh Yadav, COO Frauscher Sensor Technology India Private Limited gave a speech on the latest innovations in axle counting, partially produced in Frauscher India’s own production plant in Mysuru. Another office in Delhi provides customers in India with additional support.

Frauscher offers wheel detection systems, axle counters and tracking solutions based on inductive sensor technology and Distributed Acoustic Sensing (DAS), making it easier for system integrators and railway operators to obtain the information they need to run, monitor and protect their operational network. The Frauscher axle counting products differ substantially from the systems of other providers. This includes the options to mount sensors to the track without the need for drilling work and without having to install any active electronics near the track. They also allow establishing an automatic failover, i.e. a hot-standby structure, via redundancies. Mr. Sinha: “Another key feature is the innovative diagnostic tool which we provide with our axle counters.”

Michael Thiel emphasizes: “From a strategic point of view, India is extremely important for us. It is also classed as one of the core markets for the Frauscher Tracking Solutions FTS, which are based on DAS.” FTS offers solutions for fundamental requirements such as continuous train tracking, the monitoring of train and infrastructure components and the detection of unauthorised movements in certain areas. In pilot projects and close cooperation with Indian Railways, Frauscher is developing a system for the ongoing real-time monitoring of components and the transfer of information for the planning of preventive and acute maintenance works.

Frauscher has been chosen as a partner for the “Dedicated Freight Corridor” projects. These major infrastructure initiatives comprise more than 9,000 counting heads for the establishment of a signal technology system on a track length of more than 1,600 km. Another flagship project in India is the cooperation with the Mumbai Railway Vikas Corporation (MRVC) on the Mumbai Urban Transport Project (MUTP). Six million commuters per day, increasing passenger traffic and train frequencies as well as floods and heavy rain made this project particularly challenging. The solution was based on a combination of the Frauscher Axle Counting System ACS2000 and the Wheel Sensor RSR180. The system has proven to work efficiently under extreme conditions: Axle counters have improved the performance of Mumbai’s railway system significantly. Signal incidences due to track vacancy detection have fallen to almost zero.

Strong in the metro sector

Over the course of the past five years, Frauscher India was also able to make a name for itself in the metro sector: “Virtually all projects which are implemented in this segment now rely on our axle counters. There are currently around 1,300 detection points in use on the respective lines”, explains Mr. Sinha.

In close cooperation with the specialists in Austria, the R&D team of Frauscher India develops products specifically for the Indian market and optimises existing products to meet local requirements. Examples are the optimisation of the Wheel Sensor RSR180, the further development of the Frauscher SK150 rail claw, the enhancement of the Counting Head Control CHC principle and the Fixing Bracket BK270, which has been specifically developed for the use in India.

Based on this strong fundament, Frauscher eyes further growth: “In the coming years, we aim to reinforce our position as a leader in the fields of axle counting and wheel detection in India and other global railway markets”, says Mr. Thiel.

About Frauscher

Track more with less: Frauscher Sensor Technology makes it simpler for system integrators and railway operators to obtain the information they need to run, monitor and protect their operational network. Wheel detection systems, axle counters and tracking solutions based on inductive sensor technology and distributed acoustic sensing form an essential component of a wide range of applications. Due to individual trainings and support our customers are able to design, configure, install, adapt and maintain all components and systems by themselves.

Ponmalai-Trichy Railway Junction BG line to open for traffic

The commissioner of railway safety (CRS) has given his nod to operate trains on the newly-constructed broad gauge electrified third line between Ponmalai station and Trichy Junction railway station after completing his inspection on February 20.

In the authorisation letter signed by CRS K A Manoharan, he stated that the stretch – 2.84km, was properly inspected and after having gone through various certificates submitted by the railway administration, he was satisfied that the provision of Section 22(1) of the Railways Act, 1989 was substantially complied with its construction.

According to official sources, he has authorised the opening of the line for public carriage of passenger and freight traffic at a maximum permissible speed of 80kmph.

Further increase in speed in this section beyond 80kmph up to a maximum of 110kmph, can be authorised on completion of identified works, one more round of tamping, de-stressing, satisfactory compliance of the stipulations in the authorisation letter and inspection report from Southern Railway on personal inspection and certification after satisfying himself of the running quality of the line.

As per the certificates submitted by railways, all broad gauge electric locomotives and rolling stocks, cleared for running on adjacent sections on broad gauge routes of Trichy division are permitted to run on this newly-constructed broad gauge third line at the authorised speed or their respective permissible speed or the speed indicated in the joint safety certificate or the sectional speed

All-India Loco Running Staff Association (AILRSA) protest move to shut printing presses

The All-India Loco Running Staff Association (AILRSA) has come out against the decision to close down nine railway printing presses, including three ticket printing presses and six stationery printing presses. These include Thiruchirapplli ticket press which printed tickets for Southern Railway, including for stations in Thiruvananthapuram and Palakkad divisions. CITU national general secretary Tapan Sen MP who intervened in the issue has condemned the decision.

Mr Sen said in a statement said that these presses were supplying different stations with railway tickets and other stationery for daily use. The requirement of these printed items will continue which would facilitate the business of chosen private players, said Mr Sen. AILRSA zonal organising secretary P.N. Soman told Deccan Chronicle that the move was part of the agenda to privatise the railways. The printing work would be outsourced to private agencies, said Mr Soman. This was decided by the Railway Board in its communication recently. Group C and D staff will be redeployed and printing machines relocated to other locations, said Mr Soman.

“We had earlier voiced our protest against the decision to hand over the space in ten railway stations, including Ernakulam south, and also the land owned by railways in adjacent areas to the National Building Construction Corporation (NBCC) and Railway Land Development Authority (RLDA) for development. Such moves to privatise railway property should be opposed,” said Mr Soman. An MoU has already been signed between RLDA and NBCC for implementation of station development projects for 10 identified stations in partnership with the respective Smart Cities.

Expansion of Railways in the Northeast going at a brisk pace

Union Minister of State for Railways Rajen Gohain on Thursday said the railway network is going to exponentially expand in the entire Northeast including Arunachal Pradesh.

“With the inauguration of the Bogibeel Bridge over Brahmaputra River likely in May-June this year, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh will immensely benefit as the bridge will reduce distance between Itanagar and Eastern Arunachal districts,” the Union Minister of State for Railways said.

The minister informed that in the 2018-19 Union budget proposals have been made for electrification of Rangiya-Rangapara North-Harmutti-Naharlagun section of the broad gauge line with a total distance of 398 kilometre and the works would be executed by Central Organisation for Railway Electrification (CORE).

Gohain exuded confidence that all the states in northeast would be connected by rail network soon as survey and construction works are going on in most of the states except Meghalaya, where no land have been provided to the railways by the state government for laying railway line.

The Minister of State for Railways asked the Arunachal Pradesh government to resolve the issue of land compensation involving laying of broad gauge line from Murkongselek in Assam to Pasighat in Arunachal Pradesh at the earliest.

Flagging off the Naharlagun-New Delhi Arunachal Express at Naharlagun railway station along with Union Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju, Gohain expressed dissatisfaction that the work on the 24.36 kilometre railway line has been stopped due to land compensation issue raised by the locals.

“The compensation amount claimed is more than the project cost for which works on the railway line has been stopped,” he said and appealed to the Arunachal Pradesh government to resolve the issue at the earliest by fixing reasonable compensation amount so that the project could be started soon.

Later talking to reporters, Gohain disclosed that the Railway ministry has already sanctioned an amount of Rs 400 crore for undertaking final location survey of Misamari-Bhalukpong-Tenga-Tawang line (378 km).

“Detailed project report will be prepared after completion of the survey and the work on the line will begin soon,” he added.

Expansion of Railways in the Northeast going at a brisk pace

Union Minister of State for Railways Rajen Gohain on Thursday said the railway network is going to exponentially expand in the entire Northeast including Arunachal Pradesh.

“With the inauguration of the Bogibeel Bridge over Brahmaputra River likely in May-June this year, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh will immensely benefit as the bridge will reduce distance between Itanagar and Eastern Arunachal districts,” the Union Minister of State for Railways said.

The minister informed that in the 2018-19 Union budget proposals have been made for electrification of Rangiya-Rangapara North-Harmutti-Naharlagun section of the broad gauge line with a total distance of 398 kilometre and the works would be executed by Central Organisation for Railway Electrification (CORE).

Gohain exuded confidence that all the states in northeast would be connected by rail network soon as survey and construction works are going on in most of the states except Meghalaya, where no land have been provided to the railways by the state government for laying railway line.

The Minister of State for Railways asked the Arunachal Pradesh government to resolve the issue of land compensation involving laying of broad gauge line from Murkongselek in Assam to Pasighat in Arunachal Pradesh at the earliest.

Flagging off the Naharlagun-New Delhi Arunachal Express at Naharlagun railway station along with Union Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju, Gohain expressed dissatisfaction that the work on the 24.36 kilometre railway line has been stopped due to land compensation issue raised by the locals.

“The compensation amount claimed is more than the project cost for which works on the railway line has been stopped,” he said and appealed to the Arunachal Pradesh government to resolve the issue at the earliest by fixing reasonable compensation amount so that the project could be started soon.

Later talking to reporters, Gohain disclosed that the Railway ministry has already sanctioned an amount of Rs 400 crore for undertaking final location survey of Misamari-Bhalukpong-Tenga-Tawang line (378 km).

“Detailed project report will be prepared after completion of the survey and the work on the line will begin soon,” he added

55 Railway Stations under South Western Railway to get better amenities

At least 55 stations under South Western Railway (SWR) are set to get enhanced passenger amenities in the coming days after the Railways reclassified stations on the basis of passenger revenue and footfall.

Hitherto, stations were classified as A1, A, B and so on, solely on the basis of passenger earnings irrespective of footfall. The reclassification was done following Railway Minister Piyush Goyal’s instructions to consider revenue, passenger footfall and strategic importance while categorising stations and providing amenities.

The stations will now be classified as Non-suburban (NS), Suburban (S) and Halt (H). KSR Bengaluru City, which was categorised as A1 earlier (more than ₹60 crore revenue), continues to be in the top slot as NSG1 with over ₹600 crore passenger revenue and handling 25 million passengers in 2016-17. Yeshwantpur, which too was A1, is categorised as NSG2 (₹368 crore) along with Mysuru (₹107 crore), which was in A category earlier. While Yeshwantpur handled about nine million passengers, Mysuru handled 10.7 million in 2016-17.

In all, SWR had two stations under A1 category (₹60 crore or more earnings); 15 under A (revenue between ₹8 crore and ₹ 60 crore); 17 under B (₹ 4 crore to ₹8 crore); 47 under D (₹60 lakh to ₹4 crore); 188 under E (less than ₹ 60 lakh); and 98 halt stations under F category.

Now, 15 stations — including Mysuru, Bangarpet, Mandya, Nanjangud Town, Chamarajanagar, Channapatna, Kuppam, Malur, Ramanagaram, Whitefield, Tyakal, Harihar, Subrahmanya Road, Sagarajambagaru, and Srirangapatna — have been upgraded to the next level. Besides this, 40 halt stations have been upgraded and will have enhanced passenger amenities, a release from SWR said.

The enhanced amenities include elevators, escalators, high-level platforms, foot overbridges, additional booking facilities, train coach indication boards, waiting halls, seating arrangements, platform shelters, and toilets.

Passenger not to be charged Merchant Discount Rate (MDR) for Booking of Railway Tickets

Merchant Discount Rate (MDR) charges will not be levied on passengers for booking railway tickets (at the railway ticketing counters as well as through IRCTC ticketing website) on payment made through Debit Cards for a transaction value upto Rupees one lakh. Instructions to this effect has been issued to the Banks by Department of Financial Services, Ministry of Finance on 26th February 2018. This will further help in promoting digital and cashless transactions.

Ministry of Railways had informed Department of Expenditure that all proceeds from sale of tickets through IRCTC website/counters go to Consolidated Fund of India through Ministry of Railways and such transactions should be considered as Government receipts. The benefits on Government transactions must be passed on to the public, and they should not face MDR charges while making payments to Government.

Also, Indian Railways has initiated the facility of printing ticket details in local language on unreserved tickets issued through Unreserved Ticketing System (UTS) with first such language being Kannada. Beginning is made with addition of Kannada on unreserved tickets issued through it’s UTS system.

The facility has been started initially at Mysuru, Bengaluru and Hubballi stations of South Western Railway and same will be extended to all other stations of Karnataka in phased manner. Name of starting station, destination, class and Mail express/Passenger etc., now will be printed in Kannada too along with existing languages i.e., English and Hindi.

Tickets being issued at these stations form one counter as trial since 01.03.2018. It will be extended to all other stations of Karnataka from 02.03.2018.

In a unique effort, first time in the history of Indian Railways, a language other than English and Hindi has been adopted with Kannada being the first. This is another feature in the Cap for South Western Railway.