Indian Railways News

IRCTC to carry out inspections primarily between food preparation and food distribution on trains

The Catering Policy, 2017 was issued to provide pure and healthy food to passengers on trains. As per the new policy, Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation Limited (IRCTC) was mandated to carry out the unbundling by creating a distinction primarily between food preparation and food distribution on trains.

In order to upgrade the quality of food preparation, IRCTC is to set up new kitchens and upgrade the existing ones.

Further, detailed instructions and guidelines have been issued to the Zonal Railways for conducting joint inspections by the medical, commercial and concerned infrastructure maintenance departments to inspect each and every catering unit (mobile and static), including base kitchens or cell kitchens on all Railway divisions and zones.

Apart from this, regular and surprise inspections will be conducted by food safety officers (FSOs), designated officers (DOs) and joint food safety commissioners.

A joint team of ticket checking staff and Railway Protection Force (RPF)/Government Railway Police (GRP) staff also conduct surprise checks to prevent unauthorised vending on stations and trains.

The general managers of the Zonal Railways have been requested to monitor such drives personally. Food samples collected by FSOs are sent to the nominated accredited laboratories for testing and analysis, as stipulated by the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006.

Penalties are imposed in cases of detection of unsatisfactory food samples and prosecutions are carried out as per the provisions of the Food Safety and Standards Regulations, 2011.

This information was given by the Rajen Gohain, Minister of State for Railways, Government of India, in a written reply to a question in the Rajya Sabha.

ECoR launch Drive to check incidents of theft of Coal from Goods Trains

: The East Coast Railway (ECoR) has launched a drive to check incidents of theft of coal from goods trains in its jurisdiction by alerting its workforce and inteisifying patrolling. While the workforce have been alerted about the thriving coal theft, fequent patrolling, deputation of staff in sensitive areas have been made to check such illegal activities, a senior ECoR official said adding that special squads had also been formed to check coal smuggling.

Many such incidents have been occurring on the Bhadrak-Dhamara Port Private Rail Line under the control of the Dhamara Port, he said. The Divisional Railway Manager at Khurda Road along with the Senior Divisional Security Commissioner have taken up the matter previously with the Dhamra Port authorities and Bhadrak district police. The Railway Line from the Dhamara Port to Ranital is owned and operated by the Dhamara Port Corporation Limited and falls under the jurisdiction of the Bhadrak District Administration.

Repeated public complaints and media alerts are being received regarding theft of coal from coal loaded wagons during their run between the Dhamara Port and the Ranital station particularly near Junction Cabin near Ranital, an ECoR statement said. Video footage of the same incidents are also getting viral in social media. A group of criminals are committing theft of coal by utilising local villagers who are engaged to unload coal from the wagons of the running trains.

Since Railway Line is not within the jurisdiction of ECoR, Railway Protection Force (RPF) is unable to intervene directly. ECoR RPF authorities at Khurda Road Division are pursuing the matter with the police at Bhadrak, it said. Divisional Railway Manager/Khurda Road has once again written to the state police authorities to stop coal theft and clamp down strongly against the illegal activities,it said.

Golden Rock Workshop Awarded 5-Star Label for Energy Efficiency

The Bureau of Energy Efficiency under the Ministry of Power, Govt of India has awarded the prestigious 5 star label to Golden Rock Workshop of Southern Railway for Energy Efficiency.

The workshop is engaged in a wide range of Railway manufacturing/repairing activities including Periodical Overhauling of Diesel Locomotives, Manufacturing, and Periodical Overhauling of Steam Locomotives, Coaching Stock Maintenance and Wagon Manufacturing.

The Golden Rock Workshop, also known as Central Workshop is located in Ponmalai in Tiruchchirappalli. This prestigious workshop was set up initially in Nagapattinam by the erstwhile South Indian Railway Company in 1897 mainly to cater to steam locomotive maintenance. Later it was shifted to Ponmalai in Trichy and started functioning from 1928 onwards. During its 90 year journey, the workshop has seen many important milestones, including many awards for innovations.

Some of the noteworthy innovations include modifications in fabrication of wagons, Anti Collision Device for Cranes in the Workshop to avoid collision, Automatic Shunting Safety Alarm, etc. But the Energy Management System (EnMS) established by GOC workshop to continuously monitor and improve its Energy performance has resulted in the Workshop reducing its carbon footprint by a number of measures. Due to the energy conservation measures, Electrical Consumption of GOC Workshop was brought down from 74,37,390 units in 2014-15 to 58,22,050 units in 2016-17. Similarly, consumption of coke has also come down from 131 tonnes during 2014-15 to 20 tonnes in 2016-17.

All the energy conservation measures like elimination of cylinder liner plating, power saving by switching off transformers by back feeding arrangement during lean periods, and optimisation of utilisation of compressed air systems, replacement of transformer based welding plants with energy efficient IGBT based welding plants, alternate fuel usage, improving the efficiency of the lighting system, etc, resulted in the saving of Rs.1.11 crores through efficient energy management alone during 2016-17.

For having achieved this significant saving in energy, the workshop was recognised at the highest level and was awarded the first prize in National Energy Conservation Award 2017 from the Bureau of Energy Efficiency in Railway Workshop Category. The award was given by Shri Ramnath Govind, Honble President of India and received by Shri A.K.Kathpal, Principal Chief Mechanical Engineer, Southern Railway. GOC also bagged the National Excellent Energy Efficient Unit Award from Confederation of Indian Industry in 2017. Following this, now CWM Office, Central Workshop, Ponmalai has been awarded the BEE 5 star label by Bureau of Energy Efficiency on 13th March 2018.

Centre, ADB ink $120mn Loan Agreement to improve Rail Infrastructure

The Centre and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) signed a loan agreement to the tune of USD 120 million for the completion of works for double-tracking and electrification of railway tracks along high-density corridors to improve operational efficiency of Indian railways.

The tranche 3 loan is part of the USD 500 million multi-tranche financing facility for the Railway Sector Investment Program approved by the ADB Board in 2011. The loan amount will be used to complete the ongoing works commenced under earlier tranches.

“The project is aimed at enhancing the efficiency of the rail infrastructure through electrification, introduction of modern signaling system, and doubling rail tracks on key routes in the country. The Program will help develop an energy-efficient, safe, and reliable railway system that will result in reduced travel time along project rail routes and improved operational and financial efficiency” said Sameer Kumar Khare, Joint Secretary (Multilateral Institutions), Department of Economic Affairs .

“Funding for tranche 3 loan will contribute towards achieving the overall Program outputs of double-tracking about 840 kilometer of rail routes and electrification of 640 kilometer of tracks along high density corridors. The program is also helping implement new accounting systems and provide additional safety measures including collision avoidance equipment,” added Kenichi Yokoyama, Country Director of ADB’s India Resident Mission.

The investment program is targeting busy freight and passenger routes in the states of Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, including the “Golden Quadrilateral” corridor that connects Chennai, Kolkata, Mumbai and New Delhi. The doubling of rail sections is being implemented along Daund-Titlagarh section, the Sambalpur-Titlagarh section, the Raipur-Titlagarh Section and the Hospet-Tinaighat section while electrification is being undertaken along the 641-kilometer Pune-Wadi Guntakal section.

On a related note, ADB’s loan has a 20-year term, including a grace period of five years, an annual interest rate determined in accordance with ADB’s London interbank offered rate (LIBOR)-based lending facility, and a commitment charge of 0.15 percent per year.

Higher loading plan by Coal India Ltd to push Railways’ Freight volumes

Going by the coal loading projections for Coal India (CIL) by the Ministry of Power, the Indian Railways is set to witness an incremental freight of 30-50 million tonne (MT) over the next three years on account of the fuel alone. The transporter is expected to carry 1,165 MT of goods in 2017-18. Coal accounts for nearly 60% of its freight revenue.

The average coal loading by CIL for the current financial year is at 278 rakes/day. However, as per power ministry’s projection, loading will shoot up to 306 rakes per day in 2019-20, 327 in 2020-21, and 347 in 2021-22. One rake of coal loading per day translates to 1.4 MT of freight for a year.

According to an official at the Ministry of Railway, the transporter will meet the growing demand of the coal sector.

“The railways has been able to impress upon the power ministry that it should let the carrier know the expected future demand,” said the official. CIL also plans to buy wagons for its coal movement. These wagons are likely to be handed over to railways on a lease for operating them.

Railways has kept its revised estimate of freight loading for 2017-18 unchanged at 1,165 MT and the Budget estimate for 2018-19 is pegged at 1,216 MT. However, in the revised estimate, earnings from freight have been pegged at Rs 1,17,500 crore for the current fiscal, marginally down from the Budget estimate level of Rs 1,18,156 crore.

The target for 2018-19 is Rs 1,21,950 crore. Railways has of late seen a surge in coal loading as the rail minister has asked it to increase coal supply to power plants. While some plants are facing a shortage, others want to stock the fuel before the monsoon, as the season affects coal production and supply, a phenomenon that had led to acute shortages in many plants last year.

“The railways is even cutting movement of some of the commodities and moving more coal. Wagons are being drawn from everywhere possible and some of the non-safety maintenance works have been postponed for April and May,” said the official quoted above.

Railways has moved an average of 455 rakes of coal every day starting March 7, 2018, compared with 380 in the previous year. Of this, around 310 rakes are from CIL alone, which loads the fuel from its sidings, washeries and goods sheds. “Though few days at the start of this month got affected due to holi, 410 was the average coal loading in the first seven days. But 7th onwards, it has been 455 rakes average till today,” said the official.

IRSDC invites proposals to modernize Chandigarh, Bijwasan and Anand Vihar Railway Stations

The Indian Railway Stations Development Corporation Ltd (IRSDC) on Friday invited proposals to redevelop three railway stations—one in Chandigarh and two in New Delhi—at a cost of Rs.656 crore as part of the government’s $1 trillion station modernization drive.

According to a request for proposals published by IRSDC, the nodal agency for the programme, work at the Chandigarh station will take Rs140 crore and be carried out over two years; the stations at Bijwasan and Anand Vihar in New Delhi will cost Rs310 crore and Rs206 crore, respectively, and take around three years.

The three projects are likely to be awarded in the first quarter of the next fiscal, a senior government official said on condition of anonymity.

“We are hopeful of getting a good number of players as several investors and companies have shown interest in these projects,” the official said.

Under the station redevelopment programme, the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government plans to make Indian railway stations more attractive and passenger-friendly by adding amenities such as escalators, lifts and shopping complexes.

The plan was first proposed in 2009-10 by the then railway minister, Mamata Banerjee, under the United Progressive Alliance, or UPA) government.

Last year, the NDA government announced it would take up the project and modernize 400 railway stations across the country; the target was later raised to 600 stations.

The government plans to monetize 2,700 acres of land owned by the Railways and use the proceeds to invest around Rs1 trillion towards modernizing stations.

The Railway Board had appointed state-owned IRSDC as the nodal agency in charge of the initiative in December.

The decision, however, hit a roadblock in January as the finance ministry and government think tank NITI Aayog red-flagged the decision, saying that one agency cannot handle a project of this magnitude.

However, the railway ministry has said IRSDC is a specialized company and so is best suited to handle the programme.

The Union cabinet is expected to take a final call.

Railways introduces innovative Analytical approach to Locomotive scheduling to enhance productivity

Now, a mathematical formula will be used to optimise the productivity of passenger trains by determining the number of locomotives required for each train, the railways said today.

Indian Railways has introduced an innovative analytical approach to optimize the deployment of electric and diesel locomotives run passenger trains.  This involves use of a software based mathematical decision support system to increase the productivity of locomotives.

Indian Railways has a fleet of about 3300 electric and diesel locomotive running passenger trains across the country.  Locomotives are deployed to run passenger trains through cyclic schedules called locomotive links.  Hitherto, locomotive links were being manually prepared by the respective sixteen zones to operate the trains allocated to the zones.

 Ministry of Railways, with the help of experts, has evolved and implemented the software based decision support system to optimize the deployment of locomotives to run passenger trains at an all India level.

The decision support system utilizes a mathematical model to work out the minimum number of locomotives required to run all the passenger trains as per time table while meeting the maintenance and operations requirements.

 A pilot optimization exercise has been conducted by Transformation Cell of Railway Board, with active participation of all the sixteen zonal railways.

 This has resulted in reorganizing of locomotive links, which will save 30 diesel and 42 electric locomotives (costing about Rs.720 crores) being currently run in passenger services.

 The revised links are under implementation.  These 72 locomotives released from passenger operations will be utilized to run additional freight trains and earn additional revenues.

The Railway Ministry in budget 2018-19 sanctioned a project to be implemented by Centre for Railway Information Systems (CRIS) to institutionalise this process of locomotive link optimisation using decision support system software.

Railways electronic Reverse Auction for all High Value Procurements of Goods, Services and Works to be ready soon

Indian Railways as a major reforms initiative has decided to implement Electronic Reverse Auction for all High Value procurements. A policy decision to this effect has been taken to include supply of Goods, Services and also for Projects and Works. The Reverse Auction will be applied to all Zonal Railways, Production Units and by all Railway PSUs.

Implementation of Electronic Reverse Auction will improve Transparency and Competitive Bidding and provide a level playing field to the Industry engaged in supply of Goods, Services and Works. New Software is being developed by CRIS, Railways own IT Wing and is expected to be ready to be adopted soon.

Initially all Supply Tenders of over 10 crores each shall be covered through Electronic Reverse Auction. Similarly, all Services and Works above Rs. 50 crores each shall be covered through Electronic Reverse Auction. This shall cover bulk of Goods Procurements value wise.

Indian Railways procures Goods worth Rs 50,000 crores annually, needed for Production and Maintenance of Rolling Stock and for operation of Passenger and Goods, Services and other safety related works. In addition, Rs 10,000 crores worth of Track supply materials are procured. Projects and Works over lakh crores are taken up for expansion of Railway infrastructure and upgradation.

Electronic Reverse Auction is expected to offer Industry greater ‘Ease of Doing Business’ as it will eliminate human intervention and will provide paperless transactions. Such electronic auction is expected to offer more competitive bids for Railways supply items and for Works. Even a 10% saving in cost due to improved competition may result in overall annual saving of upto Rs. 10,000 crores for procurements of Goods, Services and Works.

Reverse Auction software shall be easy to operate by all without charging any fee and with this, decision Making in high value purchase process will become digital and online. Reverse Auction shall also cover the Government of India policy initiatives taken such as Make in India Policy, MSME Policy and will also permit New Vendors with capabilities to develop.

Central Railway registers a record earnings of Rs.143.21 Crore from Ticketless/Irregular Travellers

Central Railway registered a record ticket checking earnings of Rs.143.21 crore for the period April 2017 to February 2018 in its intensive campaign against ticketless and irregular travel. In its endeavor to provide better services to bonafide rail users and also to curb the ticketless travel, Central Railway has regularly taken innovative steps. Senior Officers are closely monitoring the revenue loss due to ticketless travel and such other irregularities.

In the month of February 2018, a total of 2.55 lakh cases of ticketless/irregular travel and unbooked luggage were detected as against 1.97 lakh cases in the corresponding month of last year i.e. February 2017, showing an increase of 29.49 %. The earnings realized from such ticketless/irregular travel registered Rs. 12.77 crore during the month of February 2018 showing an increase of 44.86 % as compared to earnings of Rs.8.82 crore registered during the corresponding month of last year i.e. February 2017.

Central Railway has detected in all 29.12 lakh cases of ticketless/irregular travel and unbooked luggage during the period April 2017 to February2018, as against 24.61 lakh cases detected during the corresponding period last year, showing an increase of 18.35%. The earnings realized during the period from April 2017 to February 2018 from ticketless/irregular travel registered Rs.143.21 crore as against Rs.117.72 croreregistered during the corresponding period of last year showing an increase of 21.65% in earnings.

In addition during the month of February 2018143 cases of transfer of reserved journey tickets were detected and Rs. 1.38 lakh recovered as penalty.

Central Railway appeals to the passengers to travel with proper and valid railway tickets in order to avoid inconvenience and travel with dignity.

Railways installed over 1 lakh Bio-toilets in trains: Government

The railways has installed more than one lakh bio-toilets in trains during 2015-2018, surpassing the target of 87,000 set by it, the government informed Parliament today.

Minister of State for Railways Rajen Gohaintold the Rajya Sabha that Railways has installed 1,00,663 bio-toilets during 2015-2018 (till February) surpassing the cumulative target of installing 87,000 bio-toilets during this time period.

The minister said the expenditure booked for installation of bio-toilets by zonal railways from 2015 till December 2017 was Rs 513.97 crore.

In 2015-2016, against a target of installing 17,000 bio-toilets, 15,442 were installed. In 2016-2017, the target was 30,000, but the railways managed to install 34,134 bio-toilets. and during 2017-2018 (till February) the target was set at 40,000 while 51,087 installations were achieved.

Anaerobic digestion process is applied for the processing human excreta in the bio-toilets that are being fitted in passenger coaches of trains.

No human excreta is thrown on tracks from a bio-toilet fitted in trains.

In these bio-toilets, fitted underneath the lavatories, human waste is collected and processed by anaerobic bacteria that converts it mainly into water and bio-gases (mainly Methane and Carbon Dioxide).

The Railway ministry has advanced it earlier plan to fit bio-toilets in its entire fleet of coaches from 2021-2022 to 2019.