Indian Railways News

Growth in Transportation of Goods items strengthening NFR coffers

Growth in transportation of various items, including food grain and mineral oil, as well as rise in prices of some commodities in the markets has brought dividends for the Maligaon-headquartered Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR), with the zone’s year-on-year cumulative revenue earnings from freight traffic witnessing an increase during the first half of the current fiscal.

NFR’s revenue earnings from freight traffic on originating basis went up to Rs 609.35 crore during the April 1 to September 30 period this year, compared to Rs 594.10 crore in the year-ago period, resulting in a growth of 2.57 per cent.

During the period under review, the commodity-wise freight traffic of the NFR on originating basis also went up by 2.78 per cent annually to 4.81 million tonnes (MT) from 4.68 MT in the comparative period of 2016-17.

The increase in freight traffic and the resultant earnings have happened despite the fact that rail traffic from the NFR zone to the rest of the country remained snapped for as long as three weeks in August this year due to massive floods in eastern Bihar.

In the first half of the current financial year (2017-18), the NFR earned Rs 62.49 crore from transportation of 0.30 MT of coal compared to Rs 52.43 crore from transportation of 0.29 MT of coal in the same period of the last fiscal.

Its earnings from other major components like container service and ‘other goods’ also went up on an annual basis.

NFR earned Rs 14.62 crore from transportation of 0.05 MT of container service during the first half of this fiscal as against Rs 13.67 crore from transportation of 0.04 MT of the product in the year-ago period.

Similarly, its earnings from ‘other goods’ went up to Rs 103 crore by transportation of 1.53 MT of such items, compared to Rs 75.96 crore from transportation of 1.25 MT of ‘other goods’ during the first six months of 2016-17.

The zone earned Rs 184.17 crore from transportation of 1.50 MT of mineral oil (petroleum oil and lubricants) during the first half of this fiscal.

In addition, it earned Rs 172.54 crore from transportation of 0.67 MT of food grain, Rs 6.54 crore from 0.11 MT of fertilizers, Rs 17.43 crore from 0.20

MT of cement and Rs 48.46 crore by transporting 0.45 MT of raw materials for steel plants.

Overall, in the first half of the current fiscal, the Indian Railways’ cumulative revenue earnings from freight traffic on originating basis also jumped by over eight per cent on an annual basis to Rs 52,414 crore, while its commodity-wise freight traffic also registered a growth of over five per cent to 559.16 MT.

It is noteworthy that of the 17 zonal railways, as many as 12 registered a growth in the earnings from freight traffic during the first half of the current fiscal.

Railway officials said one of the reasons for the growth registered by NFR this year is the low base.

They added that freight traffic and earnings from it can receive further boost in the NFR zone as work on the double tracking has been taken up and railway services are being extended to remote parts of the north-eastern states.

All Rail Coaches to have Bio-toilets by 2018 as Indian Railways advances the target for 100 percent installation

The Ministry of Railways has advanced the target for 100 percent completion of installing Bio-toilets in coaches to December 2018.

The decision was announced at event titled, “Indian Transport Sector: Marching towards Sustainable Mobility” at Conference of Parties (COP-23), Indian Pavilion at Bonn, Germany on Tuesday.

Ravindra Gupta, Member (Rolling Stock), Ministry of Railways, who is on official tour to Germany, presented the quintessential role of Indian Railways in promoting sustainable mobility.

Gupta also emphasized particularly on the innovative steps taken by Indian Railways by way of bio-toilets for having an open discharge free in line with mission of “Swachh Bharat” and an Open Defecation Free (ODF) Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Two sessions were organized as a part of this side event. The first session highlighted efforts of Indian Railways towards a low carbon pathway and the second was dedicated to overall sustainable mobility initiatives in Indian transport sector.

The event was attended by nearly 50 national and international participants including eminent speakers, policy makers, industry representatives.

The event started with an Audio-Visual film on Indian Railways showcasing key low carbon transport initiatives being taken by Indian Railways such as Electrification, Energy Efficiency initiatives, renewable energy deployment etc.

The session was organised in partnership with the Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW) and The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), as knowledge partners, FICCI as industry partner, and RITES as technical partner.

Army submits bridge drawings to Indian Railways

THE ARMY on Wednesday submitted the General Arrangement Drawings (GAD) for the bridges to be constructed at three railway stations.

The railways aims to send corrected drawings of the bridges back to the Army within this week. GADs form the earlier part of drawings which come before making the designs. The GADs for making bridges at Parel-Elphinstone Road stations, Currey Road and Ambivali stations were submitted to the railways.

“We have received their GADs. The next step would be to deliberate over the designs and suggest them corrections at certain stages. After respective officers of the division have approved the drawings, we can send the designs back to them. The Commissioner of Railway Safety (CRS) would also approve the designs,” a senior railway official said.

According to the designs, the bridge to be made by the Army at Parel station would be at least 70 metres long, the one at Currey Road would be 30 metres long and one at Ambivali station would be 20 metres long. They would each have 3.5 metres width.

“The railways has started clearing obstacles from the premises. These obstacles were coming in the way of the bridge construction, according to the design. They should be cleared before work starts on November 25,” the official added.

The next step would be to approve final design drawings of the bridges. Approvals from the municipal corporation were also taken with respect to designs, senior railway  officials added.

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Railways set to achieve track renewal target this year: Piyush Goyal

For ensuring the safety of passengers, Indian Railways is diverting new tracks to replace the old ones instead of just laying down new lines.

Railways Minister Piyush Goyal said ensuring safety and security of passengers was top priority of the government. “New tracks are being diverted for track renewal. This government is so committed to the task at hand that there are no budget constraints. There is no limit of money that Railways can spend on passenger safety,” Goyal said.

While the move is significant against the backdrop of several train derailments in the recent past, Goyal also said that after a long time 2017-18 would be the first year when Railways would be able to achieve track renewal targets. “After many many years this will the first time that Railways will achieve track renewal target set at the begining of the year,” the minister said.

Recently, Railways had floated a global tender for procuring 7 lakh metric tonnes of rails for track renewal.

Moreover, sources in the ministry said that in order to uplift passenger experience, the national carrier was in the process of procuring and installing one lakh television screens at stations across the country.

Sources also added that apart from this, to add to passenger comfort the railways would be installing several lakhs more chairs at the top 1,000 or 1,500 railways stations where footfall was highest.

Earlier, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had appealed to all MPs to set aside a portion of their MPLADS funds for providing better amenities at stations under their constituencies.

Parliamentary Panel summons railway officials within a fortnight; grills them on safety

Indicating its seriousness towards the issue of railway bridge safety, a Parliamentary panel has called top railway officials before it. Interestingly, this is the second time the railway officials have been summoned in the past fortnight.

A parliamentary Standing Committee on Railways headed by Trinamool Congress MP Sudip Bandyopadhyay has called the representatives of the Ministry of Railways to hear them on issues ranging from safety measures in railway Operations to maintenance of bridges of foot over bridges that fall under the purview of the Indian Railways.

The committee, which first met on October 12, took up the issue as the matter of railway bridge security raised concerns in wake of the incident in Mumbai where 23 people were killed in a stampede at Elphinstone Road railway station. A few days later, a portion of a foot over bridge at Charni Road station in the city left two people injured.

The panel first took up the issue on November 6 in which top officials of railway board were grilled about the security measures being taken by the department about railway bridges and their current status across the country.

As a number of queries raised by members could not be answered on sport, the panel has again summoned the railway officials before it on November 20.

Top Railway Board officials will brief the panel about both the issues—the safety measures undertaken by the department with regard to railway operations and also the maintenance of bridges in Indian railways.

The Parliamentary panel had in its earlier meeting also expressed its concern over the spate of train derailment incidents in the past few months.

After a series of train derailment incidents, the then Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu had also made an offer to resign and was subsequently shifted out of Railway Ministry in a Cabinet reshuffle in September. According to an analysis, the death toll from train derailments was the highest in 2016-17.

Titagarh to drive in automated rail track checking vehicles

At a time when Indian Railways is besieged by accidents, Titagarh Wagons is set to introduce technology-driven track diagnostic vehicles, which would be manufactured by its joint venture (JV) with Mermec SpA of Italy.

These automated vehicles would be replacing the century-old system of linesmen manually checking the tracks by hitting them with iron rods.

“This is company which is a world leader in diagnostics with presence in signalling, with 80% of its 1,000 staff into designing. We would finalise the joint venture soon and manufacturing would happen in Uttarpara (West Bengal) by next year. To head the JV, we have brought in Lalit Tejwani, who was responsible for ABB’s railway business in the Middle East, Africa and India,” Umesh Chowdhary, vice chairman and managing director of Titagarh Wagons, told DNA Money.

The JV, to be named Devadoot, was signed during Italian prime minister Paolo Gentiloni’s visit to India and will design and manufacture cost-effective track-side signaling systems and also high-tech systems and measuring trains for the safety of the railway lines and trains.

“The accessible market for the venture is around €1.5 billion,” a statement issued by industry body Ficci during Gentiloni’s visit on October 31 said.

Titagarh has been looking at opportunities within and outside the country by either acquiring foreign technology-led companies or forming JVs with them.

Its maiden acquisition was French wagon maker Arbel Fauvet Rail in 2010

The wagon maker is now strategising to turn its domestic units into manufacturing bases for its foreign units.

“It’s not that we are closing down manufacturing there. We had acquired stressed assets having very high technology expertise and in the first phase we are turning them around, a process which is complete for our French unit. The second step involves lowering the costs for these overseas units by manufacturing the basic units in India and finishing them and putting some value-addition there,” Umesh said on the sidelines of a CII-organised event on doing business with the Railways.

“We are doing it in a subtle manner but in a solid way,” he added.

For the French unit, all required approvals are in place and Titagarh is currently exporting wagons designed and finished in France but manufactured in India.

RIGHT ROUTE

  • These automated vehicles would be replacing the century-old system of linesmen manually checking the tracks by hitting them with iron rods
  • The accessible market for the venture is around €1.5 billion, a statement issued by industry body Ficci said

Amul Boards Indian Railways Via Twitter

Nearly a month after dairy giant Amul approached the Indian Railways on its official Twitter handle with a business proposition to use refrigerated parcel vans to transport butter across India, the first shipment is on its way.

“First refrigerator van with 17 MT #Amul butter being flagged off from Palanpur to Delhi with our milk train. Thanks @RailMinIndia for the prompt action,” Amul tweeted on Saturday.

On September 23, Amul had reached out to the railway ministry on its Twitter handle for advice on the proposition, saying the dairy major was “interested in using refrigerated parcel vans to transport Amul butter across India.”

The Railways promptly responded on the micro-blogging site, using a popular tag line of the company. “IR will be utterly butterly delighted to get the taste of India to every Indian,” the ministry’s handle @RailMinIndia tweeted.

The national transporter uses Twitter extensively to address passenger woes. But that was perhaps the first time it received a business proposition on the popular social site.

The Indian Railways had introduced the refrigerated van service a few years ago with an aim to facilitate the transportation of perishable commodities such as fruits, vegetables, frozen meats/poultry and chocolates.

However, these services existed only on specific routes.

Brace For Severe Delays as Railways is Still Testing Fog Visibility Tech

It’s approaching fog time again, threatening severe disruption of train services as is usual every winter, causing much inconvenience to passengers.However, the railways’ fog-preparedness still seems to inadequate as the much talked-about LED fog lights and other technology in locomotives of north-bound trains — aimed at increasing visibility for train drivers in adverse weather conditions — is still in the trial stage.

All north-bound trains get delayed for hours due to poor visibility during foggy weather, causing a ripple effect on the congested network. The dense fog forces drivers to slow down train speeds up to 15 kmph as a safety requirement — resulting in delays ranging between four and 22 hours.

Rattled by the massive disruption in services year after year in winter, the railways has initiated several steps to use technology to fight fog.

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The steps include a Train Protection Warning System (TPWS), a Train Collision Avoidance System (TCAS), and a Terrain Imaging for Diesel Drivers (Tri-NETRA) System, with the latest one being LED fog lights to improve visibility so that drivers can maintain normal speeds.

However, while these tech-tools are still being tried, the use of the tried-and-tested crackers is still in vogue during fog.

Since drivers cannot see the signals due to the fog, crackers are put on the track ahead of the station. When the train passes over the crackers they burst and alert the drivers that a station is approaching.

“For us, the safety of passengers is of paramount importance. Even if a train is delayed, the passengers should travel safe. Since visibility drops, drivers cannot see the signals and take the risk of maintaining the normal speed. There are always chances of accidents during the fog because drivers fail to see signals,” said a senior Railway Ministry official involved in safety who was not authorised to speak to the press.

The TPWS, based on the European system, and the indigenously-developed TCAS enable the driver to see the signal in his cabin through a cab signalling system. Even in dense fog or heavy rain, the driver easily sees the signals in his cabin and accordingly maintains speed. The system incorporates an automatic braking system in case the driver fails to do so manually in the event of an emergency.

However, only 35 locomotives are equipped with the TPWS system for trials. Besides, some EMUs on the Chennai suburban network and the Kolkata Metro are TPWS compliant.

With TCAS, drivers get a real-time display of signals inside the cabin, This traces the location of the train through the distance traversed through RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) tags installed on the tracks and transmits the signal to all other trains in the vicinity.

The Tri-NETRA system enables the driver to view the terrain on a computer installed in the cabin.

However, all these systems are in the pilot stage.

As for the LED fog lights, the Research Designs and Standards Organisation (RDSO) of the railways is currently finalising their specifications on these.

The railways expects that once these systems are installed, it will help in enhancing the vision of locomotive drivers in difficult weather conditions, such as fog, heavy rains and during the night time so that they have enough time to react to an emergency.

Railway Unveils Its First Refurbished Shatabdi Express Under Operation Swarn

The Indian Railways on Monday unvieled its first Shatabdi Express train with upgraded comfort, enhanced hygiene, value-added features and improved interior under its ‘Operation Swarn’ programme.

The train, which will run between Uttarakhand’s Kathgodam and New Delhi, covering a distance of 282 km, now has a complete new refurbished interior with colorful vinyl wrapped seats and on-board entertainment services like luxury trains.

The new refurbished Shatabdi Express with enhanced features will leave for Kathgodam on Tuesday morning.

The new version also boasts with features like vibrant vinyl wrappings in doorways, gangways and luggage rack panels, while the compartment aisle has been earmarked with fluorescent strips for guidance of passengers.

The railways has also worked on the coach exterior by applying an anti-graffiti coating for enhanced protection and an all anti-abrasion permanent coating for the polished look of coach flooring.

he Indian Railways has upgraded the toilets with additional features such as dustbins, personal seat covers, automatic odour and hygiene control system in all coaches. (Photo: News18.com)

It has also upgraded the toilets with additional features such as dustbins, personal seat covers, automatic odour and hygiene control system in all coaches.

It has also provided disposable head rest covers in the executive class coaches.

Emphasising on on-board entertainment, the railways with the use of innovative technology, has provided Wi-Fi hotspots in the train so that the passengers can enjoy HD streaming of entertainment over their smart mobile phones.

Railway officials also said that special emphasis have been made with regard to upkeep of various passenger amenity fittings, and all the coaches have been provided with integrated Braille signages.

A railway official said that it also plans to provide CCTV and GPS based passenger information system in all these coaches.

For better catering services, trolley service have now been introduced in the train.

The Operation Swarn was undertaken by the Indian Railways in June with focus on 10 key areas — punctuality, cleanliness, linen, coach interiors, toilets, catering, staff behaviour, security, entertainment, housekeeping and regular feedback.

Under this Operation Swarn, the Railways has planned to spend Rs 50 lakh on each train. The Rs 25 crore venture covers 30 trains in total – 15 Rajdhani and 15 Shatabdi Express trains.

Railway has planned to progressively upgrade all Rajdhani and Shatabdi trains of similar or higher standards by March 2018.

The fifteen Rajdhani Express that would be covered under Operation Swarn include the ones plying to Mumbai, Howrah, Bhubaneshwar, Patna and Ranchi, while the Shatabdi Expresses running between Howrah-Puri, New Delhi-Kanpur, New Delhi-Chandigarh and Howrah-Ranchi are the ones included amongst the 15 premium trains under the project.

Unable to Meet Expenses, Railways Halts 155-Year-Old ‘Coolie Train’ in Bihar’s Jamalpur

After a 155 year run, a train meant exclusively for rail employees and popularly known as the ‘coolie train’, came to its final and permanent halt on Wednesday. Started by the British in 1862, the historic train has for more than one-and-a-half century, ferried workers to-and-fro from Jamalpur engine factory in Munger district.

Sources in the railways said that with expenses to run the train going up to Rs 40-50 lakh, as against a revenue of Rs 1 lakh, there were no options left but to end the service.

Meanwhile, Jamalpur rail factory employees are pressing for the factory to resume the service unless they are provided with an alternative ferry service.

Run and maintained by the Malda zone of the Indian Railways, the train was a lifeline for the workers who would come to the Jamalpur factory from Dhanauri and Sultangunj. The decision is bound to have adverse effects on these workers, who would always take a drop at the equally old factory’s Gate Number 6.

Jamalpur Station Master Sudhir Kumar Singh told News18 that the authorities did not wait much before stopping the services after taking the decision.

While the train might have been popularly known as a ‘coolie train’, it became a lifeline to thousands living in dozens of villages on the Jamalpur–Dhanauri and Jamalpur–Sultangunj routes.

An Eastern Railways employee, Ashutosh Kumar, admitted that apart from the railway workers, locals would also board the ‘coolie train’ and stopping the service would undoubtedly cause them a major inconvenience.

Prakash, another railway employee says, the factory was founded on February 8, 1862 and since then the train has served these towns every day till now. The factory was founded by the East India Company when they were expanding their operations through the railway network.

Rakesh Kumar, the guard of ‘coolie train’, boarded it for the last time on Wednesday. He said that personally, there was a sense of loss. “I have been boarding this train for the past two years and today it feels like the foundation for these Jamalpur employees has slipped away from under their feet.”

 

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