Indian Railways News

Indian Railways News

New Interior, Powered Blinds…40,000 Old Train Coaches To Get New Features

To enhance passenger experience, Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu has launched a mega project to overhaul nearly 40,000 old coaches. Under its “Mission Retro-Fitment” project, the Indian Railways will equip the coaches with better interiors, safety features and amenities including LED lights, anti-graffiti paint coats, branded fittings, powered Venetian blinds and smoke alarm systems. Besides new safety features, “Mission Retrofitment is an endeavour to provide better travel experience as the interiors of the coaches would be refurbished,” the minister said.

Here are 10 things to know about Mission Retro-Fitment:

1) Indian Railways plans to induct about 40,000 coaches with upgraded interiors by 2022-23, the transporter in a press release.

2) The programme includes refurbishing of coaches which includes upgradation with improved interiors. The approximate cost for this task is estimated at Rs. 30 lakh per coach.

 3) The railways said 57 coaches have already been refurbished by Coach Rehabilitation Workshop, Bhopal and the refurbished coaches are running in Varanasi-New Delhi Mahamana Express since 22 January, 2016.

4) Besides fitment of panels without visible screws, LED lights, modular toilets with concealed plumbing, branded fittings, powered Venetian blinds and anti-graffiti coating, the refurbishing task would include enhanced safety features such as fire and smoke detection system (in newly manufactured AC coaches), double acting compartment doors (in AC coaches) and rounded edges at most locations for injury-free.

5) The refurbished coaches will also have bio toilets, passenger address/information systems, braille signage, ergonomic design and an increased number of mobile and laptop charging points, the railways said.

6) The Indian Railways plans to use better materials for the task, such as polycarbonate ABS, advanced composites, glass fibre reinforced plastic and stainless steel, among other features.

7) Indian Railways envisions improved passenger experience with its overhauling project.

8) “By 2020, Indian Railways would provide a new travel experience to the passenger over Indian Railways. This mission is challenging as it will be carried out without affecting the traffic operation,” Mr Prabhu added.

9) In addition, for retro-fitment of Centre Buffer Coupler (CBC) with balanced draft gear, the transporter has estimated an approximate cost of Rs. 28 lakh per coach.

10) This task includes stripping of the lavatories and doorway area, gas cutting the end wall stanchions, headstock assembly and trough floor, fabrication of the head stock compatible with CBC, tack welding of the new head stock with the stanchions pillars and sole bar, inspection of the critical weld joints, painting with high performance anti-corrosive epoxy coating, replacement of sole bars as well as cleaning and painting.

Several Killed As Speeding Bus Hits Train In Benin

Several people were killed when a train operated by a subsidiary of French industrial group Bollore in Benin collided with a speeding bus, authorities said on Wednesday.

The Benirail train was travelling on the railway that runs from the capital Cotonou to the northern city of Parakou when it collided with the bus, which was exceeding the speed limit, early on Tuesday morning, Ramani Kassoumou, a senior official at the National Centre for Railway Security (CNSR), told Reuters.

Interior Minister Sacca Lafia said the accident caused “several deaths” but did not offer specifics. Hospital sources in the city of Save near where the accident occurred said at least four people had died and another 30 were injured.

Bollore is the operator and largest stakeholder in Benirail, with the remaining stake held by the Benin and Niger governments and other private investors. A Bollore spokesman in Benin could not be immediately reached for comment.

At least 79 people were killed in a crash in Cameroon last October on a train operated by Camrail, also a Bollore unit.

Bollore declined to comment on the report at the time.

Mumbai to get first AC local train in September this year

Air-conditioned local trains will start plying on the suburban sections of Mumbai from September this year.

“The trial runs are underway and if everything goes as per our plan, which is most likely, then the commercial operations of this silver-blue coloured AC local would start from September this year,” said member, rolling stock of the Railway Board, Ravindra Gupta.

Gupta was interacting with the mediapersons from Mumbai at Rail Bhawan in New Delhi.

“We will be procuring nine more AC rakes taking the total to 10. They would be plying on both Central and Western Railway corridors,” said A K Mittal, chairman, Railway Board.

 The AC local had arrived in Mumbai on April 4, 2016. Initially, the trial runs were conducted on central railways but due to the height of electrical overheads and other issues, it was shifted to western railway last month.


Railways has, however, not fixed the fare structure.

Mohammad Jamshed, member (traffic), railway board, said “we are working on it (fares) and the suggestions for fares would be taken into account after considering the needs of Mumbaikars. We will decide the fare which will be in the favour of the Mumbaikars.”

Equipped with GPS and micro-processor-based software system, this 12-car local has a seating capacity of 1,208 and standing capacity of 4,936 passengers. Around 108 to 112 passengers can travel in one coach.

Built at a cost of Rs 54 crore, the train doesn’t have first class and general class division; the entire rake would be vestibule-connected (in two parts of six coaches each) and can run at the top speed of 110 kmph.

Travellers Can Now Book Railway Tickets Using mVisa Payment Solution

Rail travellers can now book tickets by mVisa payment method which allows them to scan a quick response (QR) code and pay through smartphones.

Users can securely link their visa debit, credit or prepaid account to the mVisa application on their smartphones and make their travel bookings by simply scanning their mVisa QR code on the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation website.

IRCTC, a subsidiary of the Indian Railways, is offering a promotion offer until September 4 that will give Rs. 50 cashback to consumers booking their tickets through mVisa scan and pay on the IRCTC website.

“The key to our success as India’s largest e-commerce organisation has been our ability to embrace new technologies that help us drive consumer engagement across our platform,” IRCTC CMD AK Manocha said on Tuesday.

India is currently one of the major smartphone markets in the world, with over a billion smartphones expected to be sold in the next five years.

“Considering the phenomenal penetration of smartphones in India, moving to a mobile based payment solution such as mVisa was thus a natural choice for IRCTC,” Manocha said.

The increasing popularity and adoption of mobile devices presents a huge opportunity for the growth of mobile-based digital commerce.

The mVisa payment solution on IRCTC can potentially empower millions of consumers spread across Indian cities, towns and villages, to make payments using just their smartphones from the comfort of their homes.

Shots Fired At Rail Station Near Munich, Several Injured: Police

Several people were wounded when shots were fired at a commuter rail station near the southern German city of Munich on Tuesday and one person was detained, police said.

“Several people were injured by shots. A female police officer was badly wounded” at an S-Bahn station in Unterfoehring, a northeastern suburb of the Bavarian city, police tweeted, and that the scene was now “secured”.

Police has confirmed that there was ‘no political or religious motive’ behind the Munich shooting.

“The sole male perpetrator was motivated by personal reasons. There is no political or religious background here,” Munich police spokesman Marcus da Gloria Martins told reporters.

It was not immediately clear whether it was a police officer or an assailant who had fired. Police said they had cleared the station.

German Police also tweeted following the incident.

Railway Bridge On Chenab River To Be Higher Than Eiffel Tower

The world’s highest railway bridge that will soar 359 metres above the bed of river Chenab in Jammu and Kashmir will also be 30 metres higher than the iconic Eiffel Tower in Paris.

The bridge on the Katra-Banihal railway line at village Kauri in Reasi district is likely to be completed by June, 2019 as more than 66 per cent work has been finished.

The 1.3-kilometre-long bridge is being constructed at a cost of Rs. 1,250 crore, Konkan Railway chief engineer R K Singh said today.

He told PTI that more than 1,300 workers and 300 engineers have been working round-the-clock to complete the bridge by 2019.

Its construction started in 2004, but the work was stopped in 2008-09 on the aspect of the safety of the rail passengers due to frequent high velocity winds in the area.

The Railways decided to survey the area again and find some alternate site where the bridge could be constructed on Chenab river to avoid 100 kilometres-an-hour high velocity winds but finally it was decided not to change the site as it is the most suited taking into account the high altitude, said deputy chief engineer R R Malik.

He said that it was finally decided to stop train operations when the wind velocity rises to 90 kmh with the help of the automatic signalling system and anemometer (instrument to measure the velocity of winds).

He claimed that the bridge under construction can withstand winds upto 260 kmh and its lifespan will be 120 years.

He said that on the other side of Chenab river, the Railways is constructing three big tunnels of various lengths – T 2 (5.9 kilometres), T 3 (9.369 kilometres) and T 14 (13 kilometres).

AFCONS Construction Company project manager S M Viswamurthy said that it is a joint venture of AFCONS, VSL and Ultra companies.

The company has undertaken the construction of the bridge and the laying of rail track from Katra to Banihal is very treacherous and difficult, he said adding that 80 per cent of the railway line will have to pass through tunnels which are under construction.
He said the company has bought a crane from Italy at a cost of Rs. 20 crore to carry all the construction material to the site of bridge.

He said that it is the most challenging work to construct such a high bridge on the Chenab river and he complimented the engineers and workers for their high morale to complete the project by June, 2019.

Mr Viswamurthy said it is the seventh largest arch-shaped bridge in the world as there is no support except on both sides of the river banks and one of the supporting RCC and steel pillar is 133 metres high. The arch is being supported by piers and trusses.

Mr Malik said that force technology firm Denmak has made a model study for the construction of bridge while US-based ITASCA company has rendered help in slope stabilisation.

IIT Delhi Professor K J Rao is the project consultant and Indian Institute of Science’s Dr T G Seeta Ram has also rendered help in the construction work.

The steel work is being supervised by UK-based consultant David Macanjii.

He claimed that slope cuttings, transition curves and curves besides all the foundation work have been completed.

The Railways have deployed two CRPF battalions to guard the construction of bridge and for the safety of workers and engineers, said senior section engineer Anup Khare.

The Railways plan to run a DMU on the Katra-Salal section near the bridge in 2018 as the railway track is almost complete, according to a spokesman.


Trains To Stop In Dhanbad Region Due To Coal Mine Fire

No passenger and freight trains will run between Dhanbad and Chandrapur stations in Jharkhand from June 15 due to a raging underground coal mine fire that threatens safety. Railway Board Member (Traffic) Mohammad Jamshed told reporters the railways had taken the decision on the Coal Ministry’s advice.

“The Coal Ministry communicated that the situation was reassessed by the DGMS (Director General of Mines Safety), which declared that 14 kilometres of the 35-kilometre-long railway line is unsafe and said the movement of trains on this line needs to be stopped immediately,” Mr Jamshed said.

He said the fire had reached just below the tracks in Bansjora railway station limits. The fire is said to have spread between Sijua and Katrasgarh and between Katrasgarh and Sonardih.

 The decision has affected several trains including 26 Express trains such as Ranchi-Howrah Shatabdi Express, Ranchi-Bhagalpur Vananchal Express, Dhanbad-Kerala Alappuza Express, Ranchi-Gorakhpur Maurya Express, Dhanbad-Bhubaneswar Garib Rath Express, Ranchi-Jayanagar Express, Hatia-Patna Patliputra Express and Ranchi-Dumka Express.

The Dhanbad-Chandrapur section is also a major route for freight trains. Coal for thermal power plants across the country is transported from there. The underground coal mine fire has been raging in the area since the last century. It was first detected in 1916.

Facelift For 40,000 Railway Coaches With Swanky New Interiors, Bio-Toilets At Estimated Cost Of Rs. 8,000 crores

The Indian Railways is planning to induct about 40,000 coaches with improved interiors and upgraded facilities at an estimated cost of Rs. 8,000 crore to provide world-class comfort to passengers.

Besides, the state-run transporter will strengthen safety features in all existing conventional coaches equipping them with strong couplers to prevent capsizing during accidents.

According to the plan, coaches will be retrofitted with refurbished interiors, improved seating arrangement and newly designed bio-toilets among other facilities.

The retrofitting would cost about Rs. 30 lakh per coach.

The target is to complete the process of refurbishing of coaches with improved interiors and modern facilities in the next five years.

The aim is to make available 40,000 new-look coaches in the railway fleet by 2023, said a senior Railway Ministry official involved with the project.

The work plan envisages retrofitting of 1000 coaches in the current fiscal, the number will increase to 3000 in the next fiscal and 5,500 coaches in subsequent years.

Railways also expect to manufacture 15,000 new coaches with modern features during 2018-19 and 2022-23 periods.

Railways is also focusing on the safety front by equipping all conventional coaches with centre buffler couplers (CBC), a strong coupler system.

The CBC system prevents coaches from capsizing.

While LHB coaches manufactured at Kapurthala and Raebareli factories are equipped with centre buffler couplers, the conventional coaches manufactured by the Integral Coach factory in Chennai do not have CBC.

Now it has been decided to equip all conventional coaches with CBC which enhances safety by providing anti-climbing features. It would cost about Rs. 28 lakh to equip CBC in a coach.

Railways get tough with food contractors violating norms

Cracking down on errant caterers, railways have terminated a food contract and blacklisted 16 contractors besides collecting a fine of Rs 1.8 crore in 2,108 cases related to food complaints in the last one year.

 In its endeavour to provide quality and hygienic food to passengers, railways have developed and operationalised an institutionalised mechanism for monitoring of quality and hygiene of catering services through regular inspections at various levels to address catering complaints.

A centralised catering service monitoring cell (CSMC) has been operationalised to monitor and address the complaints from passengers besides a toll free number (1800-111- 321) for prompt redressal of passenger grievances relating to catering has been in operation for real time assistance to the travelling public.

The CSMC gives real time assistance to 250-300 passengers per day, said a senior Railway Ministry official involved with catering.

On the stringest measures taken against caterers, he said one contract has been terminated, another is under notice for termination while 16 contractors have been blacklisted for breach of terms of contracts in the last one year.

Penal action arising out of irregularities, complaints and inspections are regularly taken against the licensee depending upon the gravity of lapse.

Inspections at various levels are conducted in trains and stations wherein feedback from passengers through surveys for enhanced satisfaction of the passengers is taken.

A Twitter handle with the address @IRCATERING has also been made operational to cater to the complaints/suggestions with regard to catering services.

Another helpline (138) for rail-users to lodge complaints/suggestions regarding food and catering services is operational.

Railways have also implemented e-catering facility at 357 major stations to provide wider options to passengers.

Introduction of ready to eat and precooked food on trains has also been introduced through IRCTC to ensure supply of hot meals.



Forced To Sleep On Train Floor, Para-Athlete Rejects Minister’s Remedy

A day after medal-winning para-athlete Suvarna Raj was allegedly forced to sleep on floor of a train, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu has ordered an inquiry into the way she was treated. The 34-year-old wheelchair-bound athlete was denied a berth convenient for people with disabilities in the Nagpur- Nizamuddin Garib Rath Express despite repeated requests.

Ms Raj, who was allotted an upper berth on the Nagpur-Delhi train, had to sleep on the floor of the train after failing to get a lower berth on Saturday. “When I asked fellow passengers to exchange seat with me, they refused bluntly,” added the disability rights activist.

In an interview to news agency ANI, she had said yesterday, “I want to meet Rail Minister Suresh Prabhu and tell him about the problems we have to face while travelling in trains.”

Replying to the ANI tweet, Mr Prabhu posted a statement from his official account:

In response, Ms Raj tweeted, “I don’t want any inquiry, I want permanent solution for persons with disabilities.”

Associated with the activism for 12 years, Ms Raj represents India in para table tennis. She has won two medals at the Thailand Para Table Tennis Open in the year 2013. She also represented Yogendra Yadav’s party Swaraj India in the recently-held Municipal Corporation of Delhi or MCD elections. She had contested from Babarpur area in North-east Delhi.

Indian railways authorities have been embroiled in controversies on earlier occasions too. A couple of months ago, Bombay High Court had instructed railways to compensate a woman who lost both her legs while boarding a train.

 Similar complaints have come about airlines too. Last year, the Supreme Court ordered domestic carrier SpiceJet to pay a compensation of Rs. 10 lakh to an activist, Jeeja Ghosh. Ms Ghosh, who has cerebral palsy, was offloaded from a plane four years ago.