Indian Railways News

Designer fluorescent jackets, T-shirts for rail staff

Customer-facing staff of railways will be sporting designer uniforms complete with fluorescent jackets and black and yellow T-shirts from this festive season in October.

About five lakh railway employees comprising on-board staff, TTEs, station masters, guards, drivers and catering personnel will be in new uniforms designed by fashion designer Ritu Beri for the railways.

With the Indian Railway logo embossed, half and full sleeve T-shirts in black and yellow combinations have been designed for the front office staff.

Another set of T-shirts in white with black border has been created for the catering staff deployed in trains.

Two types of half-fluorescent jackets – yellow and green – are being designed keeping TTEs, guards and drivers in mind.

Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu in his 2016-17 budget address had said, “The uniforms of all customer-facing roles will be refurbished to clearly distinguished them on our network.”

Currently, railway staff including TTEs, station masters and guards wear uniforms which were designed long ago.

The transformation journey of railways through new uniform designs reflects the renowned spirit of the organisation, said a senior Railway Ministry official.

The new uniform will also be given to the technical staff in workshops and production units.

“We are examining the new designs of uniforms submitted by Ritu Beri and decision on final selection would be taken shortly,” he added.

There could be some alterations and changes, if necessary, after the initial trial in some rail divisions.

The new design would be tried on a few Rajdhani and Shatabdi trains first as part of Project Swarn and later on it would be extended to other services.

Project Swarn envisages complete makeover in Rajdhani and Shatabdi trains to enhance travelling experience of passengers.

Railways is planning to unveil the brand new look Rajdhani/Shatabdi trains with smartly dressed on-board staff on October 2.

Railways in the process of developing SFC: Suresh Prabhu

Indian Railways is in the process of developing a Southern Freight Corridor (SFC), which would be connected to one of three corridors, Union minister Suresh Prabhu said on Sunday.

The three Dedicated Freight Corridors (DFC) planned by the Railways will provide logistics support to the ‘Make in India’ campaign and one of the corridors will be connected with the Southern corridor for the benefit of smooth movement of freight from Southern states, Prabhu told reporters here.

“The southern states will significantly benefit from the DFC as it will be connected to southern part of the country,” he said.

Stating that freight corridors will completely criss-cross the country boosting freight movement, Prabhu said, “We will have to develop a huge backbone of infrastructure for the logistics, if Make in India has to succeed.”

He said that 10 products were the mainstay of Railway’s income and two-third of the revenue came from the freight.

However the income from freight was on a declining trend in the last couple of years, despite increase in tonnage, and in order to augment revenue, freight rates will be reduced soon, Prabhu said.

To a query on plans to help farmers in distress, Prabhu said that the Railways has operated additional freight trains to lift onions from Maharashtra to help the farmers.

Noting that transportation of the produce was the biggest problem being faced by the farmers, the minister assured that Railways will extend any support required for them and asked Container Corporation of India to look into the issue.

Stating that the farmers, who are in difficulty, are of the top priority of the Government, Prabhu said that if required necessary cold chains and storage facilities can be extended to them.

To another question on GST implementation, he said “It is good for economy.”

Uber Ties Up With Southern Railway In Coimbatore

Even as it celebrates two years of services in the city, Uber, today announced a partnership with Southern Railway in Coimbatore.

Through this partnership, Uber will set up kiosks and provide dedicated pick-up and drop zones at Coimbatore Junction.

In conjunction with Uber’s second anniversary in the city, the company aims to provide reliable first and last mile connectivity option to the Railway station and Coimbatore is the first city in Tamil Nadu that marks the partnership with Railways, Uber South General Manager, Christian Freese said in a release here.

“We are very excited about our partnership with Southern Railway as we celebrate two years of Uber in Coimbatore. By complementing the available public transit infrastructure, we’re bridging the first and last mile connectivity gaps, making it easily accessible to commuters,” he said in the release.

Riders would be able to book an Uber from the kiosks set up at Coimbatore junction and representatives would help riders get to their destinations without having to worry about access to smartphone or internet connectivity, he said. Uber’s mission is to bring reliable transportation to everywhere, for everyone, he said

Passenger gives up Train Fare subsidy, sends Cheque, Letter to Railways

The Railways is in a fix over a cheque of Rs 950 sent by a passenger apparently to give up the subsidy borne by the government on the train fare between Jammu and Delhi.

Currently, the Railways bears 43 per cent of the cost of all rail fares even as the public transporter incurs a loss of about Rs 30,000 crore every year in subsidising passenger fares.

“There is no provision to accept such cheques so we will return it,” said a senior Railway Ministry official.

In order to make passengers aware of the subsidy burden on the fare, it had started printing – “Indian Railways recovers only 57 per cent of cost of travel on an average” – on the computerised printed tickets issued to passengers since June 22 last year.

Recently, a person travelling from Jammu to New Delhi saw the message written on his ticket about the 43 per cent subsidy borne by the Railways during his train journey.

He then decided to forego the subsidy and sent a cheque of Rs 950 to IRCTC for a similar train journey undertaken by him and his wife on the Jammu Rajdhani.

He sent the cheque along with a letter addressing the railway minister stating that “he will never avail such financial benefits in future”.

The Railways had already given an option to senior citizens for foregoing concessions while buying tickets.

“But foregoing senior citizen concession is voluntary now and we are planning to make it broadbased covering other categories as well,” he said.

The Railways recovers only 57 per cent of the expenses incurred for passenger transportation through sale of tickets of all classes.

The Railways thus aims to convey a message to passengers that they have been given a subsidy of 43 per cent, or in other words, the transporter is incurring heavy losses to the tune of 43 per cent for ferrying travellers.

Railways to add 400 Megawatt Solar Power capacity in the current fiscal

The Indian railways, which is working on an ambitious plan to reduce its dependence on conventional fuels and cut down energy bill, is planning to award 400 Megawatt (Mw) of solar energy generation capacity in the current financial year.

The transporter plans to award 200 MW of rooftop solar and 200 MW of land-based solar energy capacity in the current fiscal. Overall, railways has a target of installing 1,000 Mw of solar power and 200 Mw of wind energy by 2020.

“In terms of solar rooftop installations, we have a target of installing 500 Mw till 2020. So far, we have commissioned 17 Mw rooftop solar with the latest being 750 Kw at Guwahati, Assan. Our target is to award 200 Mw of rooftop this financial year out of which 100 Mw will be through the PPP route,” Railway Board Member (traction), Ghanshyam Singh told ETEnergyworld.

The national carrier is working with Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) for setting up 150 Mw solar energy capacity in Assam, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Andhra Pradesh. “The 150 Mw will be set up on solar parks. In addition to this, the Railway Energy Management Company Ltd (REMCL) is also finalizing setting up 50 Mw solar capacity on railway land by next year as well as 62 MW of solar rooftop, the tender for that will be issued in a week’s time,” he said.

REMCL will also be setting up another 50 MW following confirmation of the Viability Gap Funding (VGF) from the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE). In addition, Indian Railways is also working with Central Electronics Limited (CEL) for installing 100 MW of solar energy capacity. “We aim to cover 770 stations under this. MNRE is yet to provide the Viability Gap Funding (VGF),” a railway ministry official said.

The national carrier, under its ‘net zero energy’ plan is also planning to set up solar plants in a bid to run nearly 8000 stations on solar energy, as reported by ETEnergyworld. “We will be setting up solar plants in 800 stations. We have also begun sanctioning study for covering another 4,000 stations under the same category,” Singh said.

The national carrier is also planning to procure 300 Mw of solar energy from the Rewa Ultra Mega Solar (RUMS) park in Madhya Pradesh. “From Rewa, 50 MW solar energy capacity is in the final stages and another 250 MW is under negotiation. We are set to meet our required target by 2020,” Singh added.

He also added that the national transporter is working towards meeting its wind energy requirements too. With 37 MW of wind energy capacity commissioned so far, Indian Railways will be floating a tender for another 35 MW apart from 10.5 MW of wind capacity installation in the pipeline.

 

 

Railways Safety Overhaul at Risk Due to Rail Shortage

A planned $15 billion safety overhaul of India’s ageing rail network is facing delays as the country’s state steel company is unable to meet demand for new rails, according to two government documents seen by Reuters.

State-owned Steel Authority of India Ltd (SAIL) has promised to meet only around 78 percent of demand in the year to end-March 2018, prompting Indian Railways to escalate the problem to the office of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, communications between the railways and the steel ministry show

The shortfall means upgrades of the accident-prone network could move at a slower pace than the five years initially planned, and underscores the problems facing Modi as he tries to modernise infrastructure. Supplies of rails are only expected to improve next year.

“(The) ambitious programme of capacity augmentation undertaken by railways and track renewal, the foremost priority in the recently created (railway safety fund) … crucially hinges on the supply of rail,” Railways Board Chairman AK Mital wrote in a letter to Steel Secretary Aruna Sharma on May 19.

“Unless SAIL steps up supply, the whole programme will be at risk.”

The state rail operator is in the middle of a $130 billion, five-year overhaul to modernise the world’s fourth-biggest network.

The government in February launched an additional $15 billion fund to tackle a 25 percent rise in train accidents due to track defects over the past two years.

Loss-making SAIL, whose revival is being managed by the steel ministry, supplied about 620,000 tonnes of rails in the fiscal year to end-March, well short of demand of 1 million tonnes. In a meeting called by Modi’s office on February 14, SAIL told the railways that supplies would fall well short of demand this fiscal year too, according to the letter.

For 2017/18, it has committed to provide 1.14 million tonnes, against a request for 1.46 million tonnes as demand ramps up to meet the safety programme.

This represents about 78 percent, but the rate of supplies for the first two months suggested SAIL would struggle to meet even its own reduced target, Mital said in the letter.

“The shortfall needs to be made good quickly and supply rate accelerated to meet the committed quantity (for this fiscal year),” Mital wrote.

SAIL and Modi’s office did not respond to requests seeking comment. The railways had no immediate comment and Mital did not respond to a request for comment.

Railways have considered ending SAIL’s monopoly on supplying rail, but Modi’s cabinet in May made the use of local steel mandatory for government infrastructure projects, ruling out the use of imports.

Local firm Jindal Steel and Power Ltd has tried for years to win a rail supply contract, but is battling a long-standing preference by Indian policymakers for state companies over private firms for big-ticket government projects.

Executives at SAIL, which has lost money in the last seven quarters, have said a surge in demand to replace old tracks and lay new ones meant it was struggling to meet supply targets, despite a rise in production from its existing plant.

Steel secretary Sharma wrote to SAIL on May 29, in a letter seen by Reuters, noting that the railway upgrade was a “very important national project” and that “any shortfall in rail supplies to this project would be taken seriously”.

Sharma told Reuters a new SAIL mill at Bhilai, in eastern India, will help the steelmaker boost capacity, which should ease the rails deficit. SAIL has targeted total capacity of 2 million tonnes per year from its Bhilai plant.

“We are conscious about the concerns of the railway ministry but we have enough rail manufacturing capabilities within the country,” she said.

Final Location Survey of Bilaspur-Manali-Leh New Broad Gauge Line

After the significant progress in the completion of the rail line in the state of Jammu & Kashmir, the Indian Railways endeavours to extend the socio-economic benefits of rail transportation to other remote areas and challenging terrains of the hilly states (HP & J&K) where development is scarce.

Amongst the various socially desirable projects in the country, Bilaspur-Mandi-Leh Rail Line (route length 498 Kms) constitutes great significance. The project is of both strategic and economic, development and tourism importance, with its unique distinction being the highest railway track in the world.

Minister for Railways Shri Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu laid the foundation stone for the Final Location Survey Of Bilaspur-Manali-Leh New Broad Gauge Line, at Leh today (27th June 2017) in the august presence of distinguished guests on the o

ccasion. Shri R.K. Kulshrestha General Manager, Northern Railway and other Senior Railway officials were also present in the function.

Leh is the most important town in Ladakh region of J&K State having approximately 1.5 lakhs population. It has a high footfall of Indian & Foreign tourists each year.

The district Leh is the second largest district in the country with elaborate Army Establishments and is the Headquarter of 14 corps. The region being a cold desert, the temperature during the winter months (Oct-Mar) plummets down to well below freezing point. The road connectivity to this area is gets cut off from other parts of country due to heavy snowfall, thus necessitating all weather rail connectivity both for strategic as well as socio-economic needs.

In order to connect Leh with a broad gauge railway line with the rest of the country, Indian Railway have taken up Final Location Survey, a precursor to actual construction from Bilaspur to Leh via Manali. The alignment shall connect Mandi, Kullu, Manali, Keylong and other important towns of Himachal Pradesh & Jammu & Kashmir states enroute. The line from Bilaspur shall be further connected to Bhanupali between Anandpur Sahib and Nangal Dam.

The Proposed alignment passes through the Shivalik, Great Himalayan & Zanskar Ranges, areas with wide variation in height (600m to 5300 m above MSL) and Seismic zone IV and V  [ IS:1893(Part-I)-2002], necessitating  building of large number of tunnels, deep viaducts & bridges. The work of Final Location Survey has been entrusted by Ministry of Railways to RITES Ltd and is planned to be completed by March 2019 with an approximate cost of 157 crores.

Activities Involved for the Survey:

State of Art technologies are being employed to have a constructible, most economic, safe, and all weather railway line.

●       Development of corridors with different grades using Digital elevation Models, with overlays for Geological Maps, Snow & Avalanche Studies, Hydrological & Seismic Data using the latest software and selection of most optimum corridor.

●       Analysis of the selected corridor and development of most suitable alignment.

●       Geological and Geophysical investigations and design of bridges, tunnels & viaducts.

●       Marking of central line of alignment on site.

●       Preparation and submission of Detailed Project Report.

The construction of railway line in such difficult and treacherous terrain would be a daunting challenge for Indian Railways and would be an unmatched marvel globally once completed.

From Queen To Maharaj, India’s Busiest Railway Terminal Gets A New Name

Mumbai’s famous Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST), which witnessed the running of the first train in India, has been renamed. Known as VT or Victoria Terminus, the station will now be known as Mumbai Chhatrapati Shivaji ‘Maharaj’ Terminus.

The new name is a result of a unanimous resolution passed by the Maharashtra Assembly after the Shiv Sena demanded a change of name. Built in 1887, the station was initially named after Queen Victoria to commemorate her golden jubilee. In 1996, during the first Shiv Sena-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government, the station became Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus as a tribute to the iconic Maratha king.

 This is the fourth name change of one of the busiest terminals of the Indian Railways, this time in the honour of the great Maratha warrior king.

The Maharashtra Assembly resolution also recommended adding ‘Maharaj’ in the name of Chhatrapti Shivaji International Airport (CSIA) too.

There has also been a demand for changing the Western Railway’s Elphinstone Road station to Prabhadevi, dedicated to Goddess Prabhavati Devi, whose 12th century idol is installed in the modern temple, now over three centuries old. The changes are expected to come into effect in the near future.

The station is one of the iconic structures in Mumbai, the headquarters of the Central Railway. It handles over 30 lakh commuters daily and has been immortalized in several films.

The CST had made international headlines when terrorists attacked the station nine years ago in the Mumbai terror attacks, killing 58 and injuring 104.

Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu’s ‘Eid Gift’ To The Kashmir Valley- Vistadome Train

Aiming to provide a delightful travelling experience to the picturesque Kashmir valley, the Railways today announced a Vistadome train which would also serve the famous Kashmiri ‘Wazwan’ to the tourists. “Tourists need to enjoy the beauty of the Valley,” Union Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu said. He also stated that the Kashmiri cuisine would make it to the catering list of the railways.

“The chief minister (Mehbooba Mufti) and I have talked about how to increase tourism by virtue of railways. So, we will soon start a Vistadome train because I do not think there is any other place in the whole world like Kashmir,” he said.

“When people come to see the beauty of Kashmir, how will they see it sitting inside a train? So, we will launch it here. We have placed an order with our coach factories for the Vistadome train,” he said.

The union minister was speaking at a function, after remotely laying foundation stones of five new halt railway stations on Baramulla-Qazigund rail section, at SKICC.

The new halt points are at Sangdan, Monghall, Ratnipora, Naidgam and Razwan.

He said Prime Minister Narendra Modi has stressed that Kashmir is very important for the government. So, this is a small gift from the railways to provide “succour” to the people of Kashmir, he said.

The Chief Miniter pointed out that five stations were needed.

“I had nothing else to give on Eid, so I thought let’s make a start by these stations. Though late, I wish you Eid Mubarak and with these stations, more people will be connected. It is the start of a new life and start of a new era of development here,” he added.

Mr Prabhu said the railways would start serving Kashmiri food as well as the handicrafts from the valley in the trains soon.

“The food here tastes so well and I think we cannot find it anywhere else. To let the people have the taste of the Kashmiri food, we will start serving Kashmiri food via e- catering through IRCTC,” he said.

Similarly, the Kashmiri handicrafts, which are famous world over, will be e-marketed through IRCTC so that people here get employment, he said.

He said railways would help in the development and prosperity of the state.

“The biggest worry of our countrymen, Modi-led government and the state government is how to provide jobs to the people here, how to make people prosper and flourish the tourism sector in the state.

“For all this, connectivity is a must. I remember the former chief minister (Mufti Mohammad Sayeed) asked me to connect Kashmir with Delhi.

“I told him that we will not only connect Kashmir with Delhi, but also with our hearts,” Mr Prabhu said.

On the occasion, Chief Minister Mehbooba requested Mr Prabhu to provide a halt station at Naina Batpora area in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district, the demand made by the locals present at the function.

The union minister assured the people that the halt station would be provided.

Mr Prabhu earlier paid obeisance at the Amarnath Cave shrine and prayed for the peace in the state.

“I paid obeisance at the Amarnath Cave shrine (this morning) and prayed for the peace of the people and for the strength to the central as well as the state government to work for the betterment of the people so that Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh becomes the best developed region in the country,” he said.

Indian Railways earned Rs 1,407 crore via reserved ticket cancellations in fiscal year 2016-2017

The Indian Railways collected Rs 1,407 crore through cancellation of reserved tickets on the request of the commuters in the fiscal year 2016-17, registering a 25.29 percent rise over previous year’s earning under this head.

This information was revealed by the Centre for Railway Information Systems (CRIS), an autonomous organisation under the Ministry of Railways, in response to a query under the Right to Information (RTI) by activist Chandrashekhar Gaud.

“In its reply, the CRIS informed that earnings through ticket cancellation has gone up to Rs 14.07 billion during fiscal 2016-17, from Rs 11.23 billion in 2015-16. The earnings under this head amount were Rs 9.08 billion in fiscal 2014-15. This information is provided under the Passenger Reservation System (PRS),” Gaud told PTI on Wednesday.

The Railways is also earning revenue through the cancellation of unreserved tickets.

As per the RTI reply, the Railways earned Rs 17.87 crore in fiscal year 2016-17 through Unreserved Ticketing System (UTS). This amount was Rs 17.23 crore in fiscal year 2015-16 and Rs 14.72 crore in fiscal year 2014-15.

Gaud said the rules related to the refund on cancelled tickets were changed in November 2015 under Railway Passengers (cancellation of tickets and refund of fare) Rules 2015, under which cancellation fee was increased up to two times.

The RTI activist claimed that although he had sought the files related to the amendments to rules, the transporter refused to provide this information terming it as part of the ‘commercial confidence.’

Gaud said the Railways should change the rules for the refund in the interest of passengers.

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