Indian Railways News

Robots with HD Cams to monitor Underwater Portions of Railway Bridges

Even as railwaymen resist induction of technology fearing job losses, the Indian Railways has quietly inducted a homegrown robot to better a job hitherto done by humans by risking their lives.

Southern Railway has tied up with a company, incubated by IIT-Madras, that has made a remote-operated robotic vehicle (RROV) which inspects the submerged portions of railway bridges traversing waterbodies. This yellow device is equipped with HD cameras and geo-tagging allowing railway officials identify exact location of defects from their offices. The cameras can also relay the feed from turbid and saline waters.

Lauding the effort, the railway board in a meeting last December directed other zones to replicate the model. Officials have planned to use this technology in Delhi under the Yamuna bridge where the water is turbid. There are 342 bridges across the country which need underwater inspection; 109 of them are in Kerala and Tamil Nadu and under the jurisdiction of Southern Railway. These bridges need a maintenance check every five years.

Earlier, underwater inspection was done by divers, both in-house and contracted. While some of these divers have retired, railway has plans to phase out the process. “They were strapped with 10 vital equipments for their personal safety and inspection, including a camera. The video quality was not good and the exact location of the defect could not be ascertained. The maintenance planned would differ based on the inspection notes which were not consistent across divers,” said a senior railway official.

The underwater piers are at a depth of 10m-25m. The difficulty of inspection and danger to the diver increase with depth. But depth will not affect the RROV, developed by Planys Technologies. It can be lowered till 200m. Southern Railway has used it to check two bridges on the Coimbatore-Ooty and Chennai-Gudur sections in August.

The robot can move 360° across the pier at any depth, not possible during human inspection. Once the robot is tied to a rope, it will be sent under water controlled by a team, that includes a railway engineer, sitting nearby. The team will monitor the video feed on a screen. It comes equipped with a laser-aided crack detection and side-scan sonar system to quantify the defect. The sonar technique, that measures depth of oceans, is modified into a two-directional system where it can measure the length and breadth of the defect, a railway official said.

Railway officials can get the coordinates and size of each defect, which they can compare five years later. This in turn increases the reliability of the maintenance work planned. The final bridge report is also given in a compact innovative format, making it easy for bridge engineers to suggest maintenance work.

Strengthen Rail Network between Yeshwantpur-Hosur: MLA Arvind Limbavalli

MLA Arvind Limbavalli has called for strengthening the rail network between Yeshwantpur and Hosur to run more trains on this stretch to augment the proposed suburban rail network.

In his letter to Railway Minister Piyush Goyal the Mahadevpura MLA has said this would help ease the growing traffic woes at Whitefield, Bellandur, Marathahalli, Varthur, Sarjapur, Pathanur and Balagere.

His letter had suggested a map of existing network of railway stations that can be added to the proposed suburban rail network. This included sections that could have a grade quadrupling and others that could have the elevated corridor.

Earlier during his visit to the city on Thursday, Mr Goyal had announced a proposal for a 170-km long suburban rail network in the city, with nearly half the distance on elevated corridors. The map proposes grade quadrupling from Chikkabanavara -Yeshwanthpur-KSR Bengaluru Junction, Kengeri to Nayandahalli and Yelahanka to Baiyappanahalli.

He felt that doubling of rail line from Devanahalli to Yelahanka Junction and Nelamangala to Chikkabanavara and connecting the metro to railways at K.R. Puram will strengthen the proposed suburban network.

Currently the suburban trains cover Yelahanka,Baiyappanahalli, Marathahalli, Bellandur, Carmleram, Heelalige, Chandapura, Anekal and Hosur areas. It can also be synchronized with Baiyappanahalli and Yeshwanthpur metro. The move would benefit several corproates, BPOs, SEZs, malls, residents, educational institutions, hospitals along Outer Ring Road, easing traffic on Silk Board junction and Tin Factory.

Odisha seeks Rs.6,500 Crore for Railway projects in Budget

Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik sought Rs 6,500 crore for Railway projects in the state in the Union Budget for 2018-19.

In a letter to Railway Minister Piyush Goyal, Patnaik said such a package will help both Odisha and Indian Railways in furthering their goals of economic and social justice.

“This packages includes detailed proposals for the ongoing projects, sanctioning new lines, station modernisation, introduction of new trains, extension of existing trains, improved passenger amenities at stations and others,” the letter said.

He said Odisha generates annual revenue for Indian Railways in excess of Rs 15,000 crore and yet the average route length, with a rail density of 16, in the state is much less than the national average of 20.

Patnaik also urged the upgrade of Bhubaneswar and Puri stations to world class facilities as promised by the Railway Ministry in 2009-10 budget. The railway budget was merged with the general budget from 2017-18.

Railway officials skip deal sign meet: Allege Odisha State Government officials

The pact between development authority and East Coast Railway (ECoR) for execution of the ambitious railway station multi-modal hub at Master Canteen Square area could not be inked on Saturday because the railway officials did not turn up, said state government officials.

The ECoR general manager, who was supposed to represent the railways, cited health problem for not being able to make it to the deal-signing meeting at the secretariat. However, the BJD saw it as a conspiracy to stall the project.

The railway station multi modal hub is an ambitious project that will provide a facelift to the station area here. The venue and time for the agreement-signing ceremony was fixed days ago and the government had put up advertisements on various platforms such as newspapers. “It is a conspiracy on part of the railways to delay the project. Citing health issues, the senior railway official said it was not possible for him to come. We inquired and found he was all right,” said BJD spokesperson Pratap Deb.

The state government had in 2013 decided to develop a world-class railway station in the city. However, due to approval problems from the Centre and the railways in particular, the project did not work out. Later, the plans were amended and an agreement was decided to be signed between the works department and the railways. The Smart City Mission came up for execution in Bhubaneswar and the plans for the railway station redevelopment was amended for the second time. With the new plans, the state government in November last year came up with a revised agreement to be signed between the ECoR and the BDA.

CBTC system to be used on the Main Lines of Western Railways, Central Railways

The Railway Board has given its nod to the Mumbai Rail Vikas Corporation (MRVC) to extend the communication-based train control (CBTC), an improved signalling system, to the main lines of the Central Railways (CR) and Western Railways (WR), under the Mumbai Urban Transport Project (MUTP-3A). Until January 12, the plan was to implement the system only on the CSMT-Panvel Harbour line.

A senior official from MRVC, which will implement MUTP-3A, said, “We are collating this data and will submit it to the finance ministry so that MUTP-3A can get approved in the forthcoming General Budget.”

Executing CBTC on the Harbour line would cost Rs 1,391 crore. However, according to sources, CBTC would cost Rs 5,677 crore if it is undertaken on the CSMT to Kalyan route on CR and Rs 4,223 crore on the Churchgate to Virar route on WR.

“Initially, CBTC will be implemented on the Harbour line and then extended to rest of the network,” said R Khurana, Chairman and Managing Director, MRVC.

Currently, the headway time between two locals on the Western Line is 3.5 to 4 minutes. With the CBTC’s introduction, it can be brought down to 2 to 2.5 minutes. Similarly, the headway time on Central (main) and Harbour Line can also be brought down to 2 to 2.5 minutes from the current 4 and 6 minutes respectively.

CBTC makes use of the telecommunications between the train and track equipment wherein chips are installed inside the rake and track. Thus making it possible to determine the exact position of a train and maintain distance rather than the traditional fixed signalling systems. This results in efficiency in maintaining headway and managing rail traffic.

Under the current system, trains move from one signalling block to the next, the previous block shows red signal and those behind it a yellow, double yellow or green. This separation of distance prevents trains from running at full potential.

Western Railway Officers participates in TATA Mumbai Marathon 2018

Western Railway, under the leadership of Shri Anil Kumar Gupta- General Manager, participated in Dream Run event of Tata Mumbai Marathon- 2018 held on Sunday, 21st January, 2018 in Mumbai. Officers of Western Railway participate in the Mumbai Marathon held on third Sunday of January every year. This event is previous known as Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon.

A group of more than 40 officers and and their family members under the leadership of Shri. A K GUPTA -General Manager Western Railway took part in the Dream Run event of Tata Mumbai Marathon 2018.

Western Railway has been participating in this prestigious annual event right from its inception. WR also extends facilities like running extra suburban service early morning and other support to the organisers. The participation in the dream run event by the officers is part of PR exercise by Western Railway.

In addition, about 12 officers completed the Half Marathon and DRM Vadodara Mr Amit Kr Singh and the CPRO WR Mr Ravindra Bhakar completed the full Marathon which is a grueling test of fitness and resolve for officers who are not professional runners.

The participation was coordinated by Shri R.K.Lal President/Western Railway Sports Association and Shri. Sandeep Rajvanshy, General Secretary/Western Railway Sports Association.

Ms. Parul Chaudhary of Western Railway won Bronze Medal in the full Marathon event.

The Mumbai Marathon over the years has become much more than just a marathon. It has become India’s largest showcase of people pushing boundaries of the human spirit, people trying to #BeBetter. Better runners, better fathers, better citizens, better human beings above everything else.

Make in India Policy: Providing ‘List of Local Makes’ in the Technical Bids ‘mandatory’ in Railway Procurement

Less than a month after the PMO expressed its displeasure over the non-compliance of ‘Make In India’ policy by certain departments, the Ministry of Railways has made mentioning percentage of ‘local content and list of local makes’ mandatory for bidders to qualify for the Technical Bidding process in the procurement policy of Indian Railways.

The Railways Board, in a letter dated January 12, said, in order to ensure compliance of the Public Procurement (Make in India) Order 2017, bidders would have to mandatoryly provide details of ‘local content’ or elements of domestic manufacturing in the offer form on the e-procurement website for all types of tenders, before quoting rates.

Railways in fact was in the eye of a storm when domestic steel producers had objected to the ministry’s decision to buy rails through a global tender on December 18 for the first time.

It led to the rail and the steel ministries locking horns, with the latter alleging that the move towards a global tender was against the ‘Make in India’ policy.

The government issued the Public Procurement (Preference to Make in India), Order 2017, in June last year as part of a policy to encourage ‘Make in India’, and promote manufacturing and production of goods and services in India with a view to enhance income and employment.

In December 2017, a committee formed to oversee the policy said some of the government institutions had included certain restrictive conditions in their bid documents which were highly discriminatory against domestic manufacturers.

Azure Roof Power to Expand Electrification of Indian Railways

Azure Power (NYSE: AZRE), a leading solar independent power producer in India, announced that it has won an additional 20 MWs of solar rooftop projects for Indian Railways, the largest rail network in Asia, owned and operated by the Government of India through the Ministry of Railways. With the new allocation of 20 MWs, Azure Power has become the largest supplier of solar power to Indian Railways with a cumulative awarded capacity of over 66 MWs which includes the 46 MWs of capacity won earlier this year. Azure Roof Power will be used to provide power for 25 years to various Indian Railway facilities across 17 states and union territories. The power will be sold at a tariff range of INR 3.64 – 4.49 (US$ 0.06- 0.07) based on location. In addition, Azure Power qualifies for a capital incentive from Indian Railways which is expected to result in a weighted average levelized tariff of INR 4.88 (~US $0.08) per kWh.

Azure Roof Power offers superior rooftop solar power solution for commercial, industrial, government, and institutional customers in cities across India to lower their energy bills and to meet their greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction targets. With over 150MWs of high quality, operating and committed solar assets across 20 states, Azure Roof Power has one of the largest rooftop portfolios in the country. Azure Power has a well-diversified customer base with the majority of the portfolio contracted with Government of India backed entities. Azure Roof Power customers include large commercial real estate companies, a leading global chain of premium hotels, distribution companies in smart cities, warehouses, Delhi Metro Rail Corporation, Indian Railways, a Delhi water utility company and various Government of India Ministries.

Commenting on the occasion, Mr Inderpreet Wadhwa, Founder, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Azure Power said, “Azure Roof Power offers tremendous value to our customers across various segments. We are pleased to expand our Azure Roof Power platform with Indian Railways. With this win, we have once again demonstrated our strong project development capabilities and are delighted to make this contribution towards realization of our Hon’ble Prime Minister’s commitment towards clean and green energy, through solar power generation.”

Azure Power (NYSE: AZRE) is a leading solar power producer in India with a portfolio of over 1,300 MWs across 23 states/union territories. With its in-house engineering, procurement and construction expertise and advanced in-house operations and maintenance capability, Azure Power provides low-cost and reliable solar power solutions to customers throughout India. It has developed, constructed and operated solar projects of varying sizes, from utility scale to rooftop, since its inception in 2008. Highlights include the construction of India’s first private utility scale solar PV power plant in 2009 and the implementation of the first MW scale rooftop project under the smart city initiative in 2013.

This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended and the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, including statements regarding the Company’s future financial and operating guidance, operational and financial results such as estimates of nominal contracted payments remaining and portfolio run rate, and the assumptions related to the calculation of the foregoing metrics.

The risks and uncertainties that could cause the Company’s results to differ materially from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements include: the availability of additional financing on acceptable terms; changes in the commercial and retail prices of traditional utility generated electricity; changes in tariffs at which long term PPAs are entered into; changes in policies and regulations including net metering and interconnection limits or caps; the availability of rebates, tax credits and other incentives; the availability of solar panels and other raw materials; its limited operating history, particularly as a new public company; its ability to attract and retain its relationships with third parties, including its solar partners; its ability to meet the covenants in its debt facilities; meteorological conditions and such other risks identified in the registration statements and reports that the Company has filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, or SEC, from time to time.

All forward-looking statements in this press release are based on information available to us as of the date hereof, and the Company assumes no obligation to update these forward-looking statements.

Contacts

Azure Power
Investor Contact
Nathan Judge, CFA
[email protected]
Investor Relations, Azure Power

Media Contact
Samitla Subba
[email protected]
+91-11- 4940 9854
Marketing, Azure Power

Steel Ministry in talks with Railways to resolve rake issue

The Steel Ministry is in talks with the Railways Ministry to ensure the adequate availability of rakes for industries that have been saying the problem has led to a shortage of raw materials at plants, according to Union Minister Chaudhary Birender Singh.

Railway rakes are those wagons which carry various raw materials like coal and iron ore to industrial plants.

Coal-based steel, power and aluminium plants have been complaining against railways for raw material supply-related issues due to unavailability of adequate rakes.

On being asked about the measures the Steel Ministry is adopting to sort out the railway rake shortage issue, the minister said, “This is a problem. We are talking to the Railways Ministry [in this regard],” Singh told.

The government understands that a market is very important for business, and for a market, transportation is essential, the minister said.

Power industry body Indian Captive Power Producers Association (ICPPA), whose members include players from key sectors such as steel and aluminium, had urged the government to ensure coal availability, saying most captive power producers (CPPs) are facing severe shortage of the fuel which may lead to closure of plants.

Besides, railways is also doing “choosy deliveries”, it said.

To meet their loading targets, the zonal railway is making deliveries to plants which are near pits and this is something which is not justified, ICPPA secretary general Rajiv Agarwal had said.

Captive power producers are already facing shortage from one body of the government, which is Coal India and now this practice of Railways makes the matter worse, he added.

Big steel players like JSPL had also complained about issues related to railway rakes.

JSPL chairman Naveen Jindal had said supply and production of steel, aluminium, cement and captive power producers have been hit due to shortage of railway rakes and this situation needs immediate correction, Jindal said.

The government should ensure that performing steel assets do not face any shortage of raw material, he added.

This Budget will be Historical for Railways: Piyush Goyal

Union Railways Minister Piyush Goyal said on Saturday that the upcoming budget would be historical for Railways and capital investment plans were expected to increase by three times.

“The capital investment plans of the Indian Railways are expected to almost triple between 2013-14, the last year of the Congress government and 2018-19, the last year the 1st term of our government. The upcoming budget will (be) historical for Railway,” Goyal told ANI.

“Prime Minister Modi and his government have been committed to development. The first four budgets had also focused on the rapid development of the country. This budget will be no different it will focus on the well being of the people of Indian, every section of people of India. It will be focused on development, good governance,” said Goyal.

Goyal further averred that Mumbai local train would be soon revamped and all issues would be solved in the coming five years.

“I am a Mumbaikar myself. I totally understand the expectations of Mumbaikars from Budget and my dream would be to provide best facilities to them. Our experiment of AC local train was a great success. Forty-seven more AC local trains have been ordered. To develop the Suburban Mumbai Railways is our dream, passion,” the minister added.

Earlier in the day, as part of the ritual, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley p

11 Kerala Railway Stations to sport Rooftop Solar Plants

As part of the Southern Railway’s initiative to go green and save on electricity costs by producing 4 MW of solar power, rooftop solar plants will be installed at 11 stations in Palakkad and Thiruvananthapuram railway divisions.“As far as the Railways is concerned, it is a win-win situation,” said G Suryanarayana, divisional electrical engineer (general services) Palakkad Division. “Currently, the Railways pays a tariff of Rs.8.10 per unit to the KSEB. Once the solar energy is produced, the Railways will need to pay only Rs.3.64 per unit for 25 years as per the deal agreed with Azure Power Rooftop Solutions Pvt Ltd.”

Rooftop solar plants with a total installed capacity of 390 kilowatt peak (kWp) will be set up at seven stations in Palakkad division — Kozhikode, Mangalore Central, Kannur, Palakkad, Shoranur, Mangalore Junction and Thalassery — and four plants with a total capacity of 300 kWp in Thiruvananthapuram division — Ernakulam, Thiruvananthapuram, Nagercoil and Thrissur. Central Electronics Ltd, which is the implementing agency for the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, had floated tenders to install, operate and maintain the solar plants.

The tender document lists A1 category stations such as Ernakulam as well as A and B category stations in the state for the implementation of grid-connected rooftop solar photovoltaic systems atop Railways office buildings and stations. The bids of Azure Power Rooftop Solutions has been finalised for Kerala, revealed Railways officers.

According to Railways sources, contracts and tenders floated for installing the rooftop solar plants were based on developer mode, wherein the project developer will do the site survey, design, manufacture, erection testing and commissioning, including warranty, operation and maintenance of the solar panels.

The Railways has signed a long-term contract for power purchase from these solar plants with the bidder at Rs.3.64 per unit for 25 years.

The cost of installing a 10 kWp plant is Rs.7.3 lakh.

In Palakkad, a 10 kWp plant at the divisional railway manager’s office and two 10 kWp plants at the Divisional Railway Hospital are already producing power. Similarly, a 10 kWp plant has been commissioned at the office of the divisional railway manager in Thiruvananthapuram also.