Indian Railways News

Nepal Govt on course to complete Railway DPR by October

The Department of Railways (DoRW), under the Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport (MoPIT), has said that it will finalise the DPR of the entire project with the completion of the Butwal-Gaddachauki section–the remaining section of the larger project.

“We have already started working on the final stretch, and we are on schedule. At this pace, we can complete the DPR of the entire project in 8-9 months,” said DoRW Spokesperson Prakash Bhakta Upadhyaya.

The department has been working on different sections, dividing the 945-km Mechi-Mahakali project. While the DPR of sections east of Butwal has already been completed, only the western section which lies to the west of Butwal remains now, said Upadhyaya.

The railway department has already completed the DPR of the Bardibas-Simara, Simara-Butwal and Bardibas-Kakadbhitta sections. The DPR of these stretches were conducted separately: 108-km Bardibas-Simara section, 127-km Simara-Tansariya section and 64-km Tansariya-Butwal section, according to Upadhyaya.

The department has also completed the DPR of area between eastern Bardibas and Kakadbhitta in two segments: 137-km Bardibas-Inaruwa section and 103-km Inaruwa-Kakadvitta section.

It said the DPR of the remaining stretch of Butwal-Gaddachauki of the East-West Railway Project would be carried out by dividing the area into four segments: 115-km Butwal-Lamahi; 102-km Lamahi-Kohalpur, 95-km Kohalpur-Sukhad and 94-km Sukhad-Gaddachauki.
“We are currently working on the Butwal-Gaddachowki railway line that has been divided into four packages, each around 100km in length. Working on such stretches makes it easier and consume less time,” added Upadhyaya.

The East-West Railway Line is estimated to cost Rs 69.52 billion.

China opens new Freight Train service to Budapest

A new freight train service linking the east China port city of Xiamen with Budapest, capital of Hungary, started Friday, making it the newest China-Europe freight train route.

At about 10:45 a.m., a train with 35 containers left Haicang District station in Xiamen, carrying about 3.5 million U.S. dollars of goods, including electric products, clothes, shoes and construction materials.

The 11,595 km journey, which takes one stop at China’s southwest city of Xi’an, will take 18 days.

It will operate every Friday and creates easier access for products from Xiamen and southeast Asia to travel to Europe.

The city has rail routes to five European countries, including Germany and Russia, with more than 200 trips made since services to Europe were launched in August 2015.

Pakistan, Iran to restart fortnightly passenger train service

A Joint Expert Committee Meeting between Pakistan Railways and Iranian Railways on Thursday decided that fortnightly passenger train between Pakistan and Iran will be restarted, as the security situation is getting better.

The Iranian delegation was headed by Majid Arjouni, DG Zahidan Railways. It was decided that train will be destined for Mashad or Qom and will be resumed prior to Muharram. The regular running of 15 freight trains, on demand of merchants, between Quetta and Zahidan was also conversed.

The proposed dates will be shared by Iranian side. As the security is improving in Pakistan, Pakistan Railways’ divisions will be in a position to dispatch consignment to other parts of the country as well.

The up gradation of Spezand and Taftan (ML III) section was also discussed. The up gradation includes complete replacement of track structure, conversion of 183 dips into bridges, rehabilitation of old bridges and provision of proper signalling.

Usually, Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) is imported from Iran via road. Pakistan Railways also proposed specialised containers to transport LPG from Iran and offered a concession in its freight structure to promote trade through railways.

Economic Cooperation Organisation (ECO) Islamabad-Tehran-Istanbul (ITI) Train was also discussed during the meeting where Pakistan Railways requested the Iranian side to persuade ECO secretariat for the revival of ECO train to Istanbul, instead of Kosekoy.  Pakistan Railways also mentioned that revision of 1959 Agreement between Pakistan Railways and Iranian Railways is under process.

During the meeting, Pakistan Railways informed about the revived communication with Taftan section while Iranian side requested import of mechanical and civil material from Pakistan Railways.

Japanese firms likely to supply at least 70% of the Core Components of the India’s Bullet Train project

Japanese steel and engineering companies are in the forefront to bag major supply contracts for a $17-billion Indian bullet train, several sources said. Japan is funding most of the project, and Japanese companies are likely to supply at least 70 per cent of the core components of the rail line, said five sources in New Delhi with direct knowledge of the matter.

A Japanese transport ministry official involved in the project said the two countries were still working out a strategy for the supply of key components, and would unveil a plan for procurements around July. The official spoke on condition of anonymity.

The September 2017 agreement between Japan and India for the bullet train project included two clauses—the promotion of ‘Make in India’ and ‘Transfer of Technology’ —through which New Delhi had hoped to set up manufacturing facilities in the country, generate jobs and get a toehold in Japanese technology. “The Japanese have reservations on certain issues because they have a concern that there is a difference in the culture and systems of Japan from the culture and systems in India,” said Achal Khare, the Managing Director of National High Speed Rail Corp Ltd (NHSRCL), the agency tasked to execute the bullet train project. “The work culture is very different,” he said.

Khare did not elaborate but two Indian Railways officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said their Japanese counterparts had raised questions about efficiency in Indian companies and their ability to meet timelines.

The World Bank currently ranks India 100th out of 190 nations on the ease of doing business, giving it relatively low marks for starting a business, enforcing contracts and dealing with construction permits.

Tomoyuki Nakano, Director-International Engineering Affairs in the Railway Bureau at Japan’s Transport Ministry, said the issue was that Indian companies had no experience or technologies specialising in high-speed railway systems at present. “I don’t think Japanese are concerned about a difference in the work culture,” Nakano said. He and other Japanese officials said efforts were continuing to fulfil the ‘Make in India’ component of the agreement by promoting collaborations between companies from the two countries.

Still, several Indian officials said it was by and large accepted that Indian companies would not have a major part to play in the bullet train project.

Japan will get major leeway because the bullet train is largely funded by a 50-year loan provided by its government, said a close aide of Modi, who spoke on condition of anonymity. “At this stage to expect Indian companies to have a bigger share in manufacturing appears to be a little difficult,” said a senior official at the Indian government’s policy think-tank, NITI Aayog, who is involved in the negotiations.

Modi’s flagship ‘Make in India’ initiative aims to lift the share of manufacturing in India’s $2 trillion economy to 25 percent and create 100 million jobs by 2022.

However, midway through Modi’s five-year term, manufacturing was still at 17 percent of India’s GDP in the 2016/17 financial year from 15 percent previously.

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe laid the foundation stone for India’s first bullet train in September last year. It will link Mumbai with Ahmedabad, the largest commercial city in Modi’s home state Gujarat.

Nippon Steel and Sumitomo Metal, Japan’s biggest steelmaker, and other companies like JFE Holdings, Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Toshiba and Hitachi are likely to bid for various contracts, said three senior Indian government officials directly involved in the project.

Nippon Steel said it would not comment on specific projects.

JFE, Hitachi and Toshiba said they were interested in the project but had not finalised plans, including any possibilities of joint ventures with Indian firms. Mitsubishi Heavy said it had not decided if it wanted to be involved.

The sole collaboration aimed at the bullet train project is between Kawasaki Heavy Industries and India’s Bharat Heavy Electricals, which aims to win carriage orders.

Japanese government officials have asked for more bullet train corridors in India before transferring technology, three senior Indian officials said.

But New Delhi is unlikely to announce any new projects until the final cost and commercial feasibility of the Mumbai-Ahmedabad link is clear, the officials said.

“It’s like a chicken and egg situation on technology. The Japanese want an economy of scale and business but the Indian view is that India is a big market that once this market is explored the business will automatically be generated,” said Khare from NHSRCL.

New Delhi has tried to help Indian steel companies grab a slice of the pie. The Indian government last year mediated negotiations between Nippon Steel and India’s Jindal Steel and Power to set up a joint venture to manufacture rails, but the talks fell through after the Japanese major raised quality concerns, three sources in New Delhi said.

State-owned Steel Authority of India, which for decades has been the main supplier of rails to Indian Railways, was also overlooked by Japanese companies due to quality concerns, the sources said.

Nippon Steel declined comment and while Jindal and SAIL did not reply to e-mails seeking comment.

Left with little choice, Indian firms will now largely provide raw materials like cement and supply manpower for the assembly of rails, the sources said.

India’s UltraTech Cement, Larsen & Toubro, Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd and Ambuja Cements are among those in the race for the supply of construction materials and power, the two Indian railways officials said.

Railways may borrow record Rs 42,000 Crore this year

Indian Railways is likely to borrow a record Rs 42,000 crore in 2018-19 to fund its capacity expansion programme. The amount, to be raised by the Indian Railways Finance Corporation (IRFC), is Rs 7,000 crore or a fifth more than the total borrowings of the national transporter in the current fiscal.

The ministry plans to utilise the funds for high traction projects such as doubling of important freight corridors, electrification of tracks along dense routes and procuring of rolling stock including German technology based LHB passenger coaches and electric engines, officials said. Nearly Rs.22,000 crore of the total borrowings will be raised by IRFC from markets while the remaining amount would come from the Life Insurance Corporation of India, said a senior official, who did not wish to be identified.

Indian Railways has been steadily raising its borrowing through Indian Railways Finance Corporation in the past five years. Railway Minister Piyush Goyal recently announced that IRFC, which currently acts as the financial arm of railways and which the government plans to list, will soon get into new streams of business. Currently, more than 60% of the funds raised by IRFC meet the rolling stock requirement of railways.

The remaining funding is for project financing. Goyal had said last week that the railway ministry wasn’t solely looking at funds from the finance ministry but also planned to undertake a massive asset monetisation programme. The railways is planning to monetise assets including its prime land bank and power transmission lines to raise more than Rs 30,000 crore. The move to step up borrowings must be accompanied by radical reforms to raise earnings. Rail finances will improve only when the when the practice of freight and upper-class passengers subsidising lower-class fares ends. The government has announced a rail development authority, but the regulator should have the powers to set tariff and settle contractual disputes in private public sector partnerships must be in place. It makes sense to recast the railway board on a corporate model to improve finances. For the next financial year, the national transporter has proposed a plan outlay of Rs 1.46 lakh crore and has approached the finance ministry to provide almost Rs 60,000 crore as gross budgetary support.

SCR Press Release: General Manager/SCR Conducts Annual Inspection of Guntur Division

Vinod Kumar Yadav, General Manager, South Central Railway undertook inspection of Nandyal-Guntur Section of Guntur Division today i.e., 17th January, 2018. He was accompanied by Principle heads of the departments and Ms V.G.Bhooma, Divisional Railway Manager, Guntur Division.

The General Manager began his inspection with the Nandyal Railway Station, Running Room, Crew Lobby, Stores etc. He planted saplings at Running Room as part of Green Initiative and inaugurated Children’s Park. He also inaugurated ‘Employees Digital Hub VISION 2040’ developed by Personnel Department of South Central Railway. The General Manager inspected the Railway colony; Staff quarters and interacted with the occupants. He also inspected Health Unit at Nandyal Railway station and enquired about facilities provided for employees.  Bhuma Brahmananda Reddy, Hon’ble MLA Nandyal met Vinod Kumar Yadav, General Manager, SCR and discussed on Rail Developmental issues in his area. Vinod Kumar Yadav interacted with media at Nandyal station and informed about developmental plans in Guntur Division.

The General Manager conducted a window trailing inspection from Nandyal, passing through Nandipalli, Gazulapalli and Chelama Railway Stations. Later, he conducted the inspection of the Bogada tunnel, which is the longest tunnel o­n SCR measuring 1.54 Kilometers. He conducted a thorough scrutiny of Minor Bridge No. 304 near “Bogada Tunnel” and checked the ‘Emergency Communication Sockets’ situated there. He made several suggestions to the engineering staff for good upkeep of the tunnel and interacted with the Gang Staff. He also inspected circulating area and carriage watering management at Diguvametta Railway station.

At Markapur, Vinod Kumar Yadav inspected station premises, platforms and inaugurated new Railway Employee Quarters & Children’s Park. J. Venkata Reddy, Hon’ble MLA, Markapur met the General Manager and discussed about the rail developmental plans.

Foldable Wheel Chair along with Ramp  facility inaugurated :

Guntur Division has taken up a significant step forward in making trains more accessible to Divyang (Differently-abled) passengers, aged and passengers with limited mobility. Wheelchairs are provided in all the stations on the Zone to facilitate needy passengers boarding and de-boarding the trains.

Towards this, an initiative has been taken up on Guntur Division, to address the issue and to provide a more comfortable and hassle free access to needy passengers by developing a user friendly proto type ramp which further perfected in consultation with the industries working in this sector. This ramp will help to push the wheel chair into the coach and then worked on a wheel chair which will have access into the narrow aisles of all coaches.   The real big challenge was to make a wheel chair comfortable to the Divyang (disabled passengers) and enters the doors of all coaches especially 3AC coaches also. K. Baburao, Senior Divisional Mechanical Engineer, Guntur Division took initiative in developing and finalizing the concept.

Vinod Kumar Yadav made an extensive inspection of Guntur Railway Station, including platforms, passenger amenities available at the station etc.,  Mustafa, Hon’ble MLA, Guntur East met and represented on various issues. Trade union leaders of SCRMU, SCRES, All India SC & ST Associations also met the General Manager.

K. Siva Prasad, Principal Chief Engineer;  N. Madhusudana Rao, Principal Chief Operations Manager;  Vijay Agarwal, Chief Administrative Officer (Construction); Smt Padmini Radhakrishnan, Principal Financial Advisor;  A.A.Phadke, Principal Chief Electrical Engineer;  M.G.Sekharam, Principal Chief Commercial Manager;  N.V.Ramana Reddy, Principal Chief Personnel Officer; Dr. K.H.K.Dora, Principal Chief Medicial Director;  Ram Kripal, Commissioner of Railway Safety  and other Officials also accompanied the General Manger and conducted department wise inspection.

Piyush Goyal aims to make Mumbai India’s Best Transport Hub by August 2022

Union Railway Minister Piyush Goyal wants Mumbai to be the best transport hub in India by August 2022. In a meeting of officials from the railways, state government, MMRDA and BMC and attended by chief minister Devendra Fadnavis on Saturday, Goyal told the officials to work in coordination to ensure the city has the best public transport system in India.

Goyal is pushing for implementation of Rs.50,000-crore Mumbai Urban Transport Project (MUTP) 3A, which includes improving the current suburban railway network, building new projects such as elevated railway and also extending the suburban railway network to the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR).

The Mumbai Rail Vikas Corporation (MRVC), which is implementing MUTP-3A was asked to complete all projects by 2022, said an official, who was present at the meeting.

Some of the major projects include CSMT-Panvel elevated corridor, Panvel-Virar suburban railway line, harbour railway extension till Borivli, fifth and sixth line between Borivli and Virar, third and fourth line between Kalyan and Badlapur and communication-based train control (CBTC) on harbour line.

The project will be funded jointly by the state government and the MRVC. “Coordination of work is required in order to meet the deadline. The minister has asked all nodal agencies to work together and solve commuting woes and make the city the best transport hub. The work has already begun in full swing,” said a senior MRVC official, who attended the meeting.

“We have submitted a proposal to the state government. The approval is expected within a week. The project approval will then go to the railway board, after which the plans for diversification of different works will be made,” said the official.

The different projects under MUTP-3A will give the much-needed relief to commuters. A case in point could be the elevated corridor between CSMT and Panvel, which will not just help people living in Navi Mumbai, but will also become a connecting point to the new airport in Navi Mumbai and the existing airport.

The Panvel- Virar suburban line will help commuters from Navi Mumbai travel on the western railway. They currently switch between central and western line at Dadar railway station.

The fifth and sixth lines between Borivli and Virar will improve punctuality of local trains, as it will segregate the suburban and long-distance trains up till Virar.

The CBTC will help railways to operate more trains on the harbour line.

The procurement of the new trains will increase the number of air-conditioned (AC) local trains in the city. The MRVC plans to procure 210 AC local trains under MUTP-3A and the railways later plans to convert all regular 0local trains into AC ones.

38 Trains Running Late, 15 Cancelled Due To Dense Fog In Delhi, North India

38 trains are going to arrive late, while seven have been rescheduled and fifteen cancelled due to dense fog in the Delhi and neighbouring regions in north India.

Residents of the national capital and adjoining cities of Noida, Gurgaon, Ghaziabad and Faridabad woke up to a foggy morning. The minimum temperature recorded at Delhi’s Palam station this morning was 8.1 degrees Celsius, three notches above the normal temperature for this time of year. The lowest temperature recorded at the weather station in Delhi’s Safdarjung was 7 degrees Celsius.

Trains running across noth, northwest and eastern India were affected by dense fog. These include places in Bihar, eastern Uttar Pradesh, and isolated places over Punjab and Haryana. At 25 metres, the lowest visibility was observed in UP’s Bahraich and Gorakhpur, while Amritsar, Hisar and Patna had visibility at 50 metres. Visibility in Delhi was lower than 200 metres.

COMMENTSAccording to the weather department, Delhi will have a clear sky with moderate fog and medium visibility through the day.

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Now Indian Railway Waiting Rooms Will Have TVs, Beverages And Light snacks

If you happen to be a frequent train traveller who is tired of waiting for those much-delayed trains, then here’s a little good news for you. The Indian Railways’ waiting room will soon have TVs, beverage dispensing machines and light refreshments.

“The Delhi Division will undertake a pilot project for upgradation of waiting rooms with modern facilities for dispensing beverages, light refreshments, TVs, upgraded furniture, toilet facilities and other prescribed amenities and services under PPP mode through open bidding process,” a set of instructions sent from the railways’ transformation cell to the Northern Railway general manager said.

As a pilot project, the Delhi Division has been asked to undertake the upgradation of its waiting rooms by providing modern facilities for passengers. According to a senior railway official, “Passengers have to wait in waiting rooms for hours sometimes, especially during foggy weather when trains get delayed indefinitely. So, equipping the waiting room is just to make the passengers comfortable during the long wait.”

COMMENTSThe railway officials also said that once, the division implements the project successfully; the board might issue instructions to replicate the model across the railway network.

Railways Mulls Airline-Style Discounts On Early Booking. Details Here

Railways officials are considering an internal committee’s recommendations, which may make it cheaper for railway passengers who have planned their journey in advance. The Railways fare review committee, which submitted its report earlier in January, had suggested graded discounts depending on the number of vacant seats in a train, a concept that is similar to airlines which offer heavy discounts to passengers if they book their tickets months in advance. The committee recommended discounts from 20 per cent to 50 per cent depending on the number of vacant seats available at the time of booking, the Press Trust of India reported.

Here are five things to know about the recommendations by the Railways fare committee:

The panel has also proposed discounts for tickets booked after charting. It has said that discounts can be offered in slots from two days to two hours before the departure of the train.

The committee has also said that passengers will have to pay more for choosing lower berths, just like air travelers pay more for front-row seats. However, officials say that senior citizens, people with disabilities and pregnant women could be allotted these seats free of charge.

The committee has also suggested that fares be increased for those trains, which reach their destinations at “convenient” times such as early morning as against those that arrive at “odd hours” for example between 0000 and 0400 hours and 1300 and 1700 hours, the officials said.

The committee has also recommended that instead of having flat fares, the railways should increase fares during festive seasons, and reduce them during lean months.

The committee consists of some Railway Board officials, NITI Aayog adviser Ravinder Goyal, Executive Director (Revenue Management) of Air India Meenakshi Malik, professor S Sriram, and Iti Mani, Director, Revenue, Le Meridien, Delhi.