Indian Railways News

Indian Railways News

First Deluxe Train Deccan Queen Marks 87th Birthday

The introduction of ‘Deccan Queen’ between the two premier cities of Maharashtra on June 1, 1930 was a major landmark in the history of the Great Indian Peninsula Railway.

This was the first deluxe train introduced on the railway to serve 2 important cities of the region and was aptly named after Pune, which is also known as ‘Queen of Deccan’ (‘Dakkhan ki Rani’).

Initially, the train was introduced with 2 rakes of 7 coaches each one of which was painted in silver with scarlet mouldings and the other with royal blue with gold lines. The under frames of the coaches of the original rakes were built in England while the coach bodies were built in the Matunga Workshop of the GIP Railway

The Deccan Queen, initially, had only first class and second class accommodation. First class was abolished on January 1, 1949 and second class was redesigned as first class, which continued up to June 1955. When third class was introduced on this train for the first time. This was later re-designated as second class from April 1974 onwards. The coaches of the original rakes were replaced in 1966 by anti-telescopic steel bodied integral coaches built by Integral Coach Factory, Perambur. These coaches incorporated improved design of bogies for better riding comfort and also improvements in the interior furnishings and fittings. The number of coaches in the rake was also increased to 12 from the original 7 coaches providing additional accommodation. Over the year the number of coaches in the train has been increased to the present level of 17 coaches.

From its inception, apart from providing high standards of comfort to the passengers, the train has witnessed various improvement such as introduction, for the first time in India, of coaches with roller bearings, replacement of end on generation coaches with self generating coaches with 110 volts system and introduction of first and second class chair cars providing increased accommodation to passengers. The distinctive colour scheme of cream and oxford blue with red band above the window level has been recently adopted as the colour scheme for this train.

With the ever-growing aspirations of the travelling public for better amenities, improved standards of comfort and better quality of service, it was considered necessary to give a complete facelift to the Deccan Queen.

 The rake was changed in 1995 has all newly manufactured or about a year old, air brake coache
The 5 first class chair car in the old rake have been replaced by 5 AC chair cars providing an additional seating capacity of 65 in a dust-free environment. Also the 9-second class chair cars provide additional seating capacity of 120 seats compared to the old coaches. Thus, new rake provides a total seating capacity of 1417 as against 1232 seats in the old rake i.e. an increase of 15%.

The dining car offers table service for 32 passengers and has modern pantry facilities such as microwave oven, deep freezer and toaster. The dining car is also furnished with cushioned chairs and carpet.

The history of Deccan Queen is literally a tale of two cities. The public of both the cities are happy with the impeccable record of ‘right time start’ and ‘arrival’ of Deccan Queen.

Over the last 80 years of its colourful history, the train has grown from a mere medium of transportation between two cities into an institution binding generation of intensely loyal passengers.


Father of Techie Stabbed At Chennai Station Objects To Movie On Her

On June 24 last year, young Infosys techie Swathi S lay dead at a busy railway station in Chennai after a savage attack by a stalker who stabbed her repeatedly with a sickle.  Her body stayed at the platform for around two hours, the gruesome scene ignored by scores of train riders and others.

Almost a year later, the murder is the theme of a new movie that Swathi’s family has fiercely opposed and said should be banned.  The trailer of the Tamil movie ‘Swathi Kolai Vazhakku’ (Swathi Murder Case), directed by Ramesh Selvan, was released this week and posters have emerged in the city.

Swathi’s father Santhana Gopala Krishnan has complained to the police against the filmmakers.
It is not fair or legal, the retired central government employee has told the police, saying the producers never asked for the family’s consent. In the complaint, he also questions the intention of making the movie and fears that facts about his daughter could be twisted.

At the launch of the movie’s trailer, Mr Selvan said it was shot in the actual locations where the crime and the investigations took place, right down to the city’s railway station and the house where Ramkumar, the man arrested for killing Swathi, stayed.

Ramkumar allegedly committed suicide in police custody in September last year by putting a live wire in his mouth.

Quoting reports, news agency IANS said while the filmmakers have not taken permission from Swathi’s parents to make the film, they have promised to screen the film for the family by this month-end before releasing it.

Three years ago, a movie based on the 2008 murder of teenager Aarushi Talwar at her home in Noida also provoked a controversy. Aarushi’s parents Rajesh and Nupur Talwar, who are serving a life sentence, alleged that the movie distorted facts. The Bombay High Court allowed the movie’s release after ruling that the movie had no resemblance with the facts in Aarushi’s case

Railways to provide ‘book now pay later’ option

Railways have decided to provide the `buy tickets now and pay later` service for any Express trains, an IRCTC official said on Thursday.

According to the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) Ltd official, soon passengers would be able to buy tickets from the IRCTC website and pay later.

IRCTC spokesperson Sandip Dutta told IANS: “IRCTC has collaborated with a Mumbai-based firm ePayLater for adding the new service option.”

“Through this service a passenger can book a ticket five days prior to the journey with a service charge of 3.5 percent and pay it in the next 14 days,” Dutta said.

He also said that this option was valid only on etickets.

Elaborating on the new feature, Dutta said, “The way a credit card is issued after evaluating the CIBIL score of a customer, same procedure will be followed.”

“Those who want to opt for this service have to give their name, email ID, mobile number, their PAN card or Aadhaar details,” the IRCTC official said.

The officer also said that once the customer gets approval to use the feature, they would be sent an OTP (one time password) to enable them to use the service.

Drunken Passengers Trigger Eurostar Chaos

A London-bound Eurostar train was halted for at least four hours in France Monday after police were called in to take off two drunken British passengers, French railway authorities said.

The string of events that led to the delays started shortly after the train carrying about 770 passengers left Gare du Nord station in Paris.

A little over an hour into the journey the train was brought to a halt in the northern French city of Calais after several passengers complained about the rowdiness of two British travellers, a spokesman for France’s state railway operator SNCF told AFP.

They were “completely drunk,” local media quoted police as saying.

Police intervened to take the pair off the train but during the operation several passengers got off for a break, forcing staff to clear the train and start the boarding from scratch for security purposes.

“The train was no longer sealed, other people could have come onboard,” the SNCF spokesman said.

The process took nearly four hours, after which the train finally resumed its journey, arriving in London shortly after 4:00 am (0300 GMT) where weary travellers found themselves queueing again — this time for taxis.

The two passengers behind the disturbances meanwhile were sleeping it off in a hotel in Calais, the northern French daily La Voix du Nord quoted a local prosecutor as saying.

Eurostar, operator of the cross-Channel service, was not available for comment about the incident.

On its Twitter account it expressed its “sincere regrets and apologies” to its customers, together with a link to a compensation form.

The offer failed to appease some vexed passengers, who vented their frustration on social media.

“9h travel time from Paris to London; arrival at 4.10am; because of a drunk and poor management,” Twitter user WBertagna wrote, along with a picture of passengers queueing in Calais to be allowed back onboard.

IRCTC to Enable ‘Buy Now Pay Later’ Feature in Partnership With ePaylater

The Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation, popularly known as IRCTC, soon after adding cash on delivery service for railway tickets, is all set to add another feature for booking tickets. You can soon buy your railway tickets via IRCTC website and pay later, which could reduce the hassle of going through the payment process at the time of booking.

The new IRCTC feature is being enabled in partnership with Mumbai-based ePaylater which is a provider of “Buy now. Pay later” payment solutions, and is targeted at frequent online purchasers with a credit term of 14 days.

ePayLater says that the “Buy Now Pay Later” feature will be available to eligible customers who can book their railway tickets without paying at that moment. Under the new payment solution, customers at IRCTC can make the payment for their tickets within 14 days from the date of transaction.

Talking about the partnership, ePayLater says that it targets to capture at least 5 percent of the 6 lakhs transactions per day in next six months.

The company explains that in order to be applicable for new “Buy Now Pay Later” feature, users will have fill in basic details including Aadhaar and PAN card details after which they will be able to use the feature with a One Time Password (OTP).

Explaining the process, Akshat Saxena, Co-Founder and Head of Business Development – ePaylater says that eligibility of a customer for the new “Buy Now Pay Later” on IRCTC will be checked through old transactions and other factors.

Uday Somyajula, Co-Founder, ePayLater announcing the partnership said, “We are excited with this development. At ePayLater, it’s been our primary focus to leverage data science to solve real life challenges. Partnering with India’s largest online portal is a strong testimony to our technology and analytics leadership. By providing customers this deferred payment option we not only simplify the checkout experience but also help them manage their short term income-expense mismatches better.”

ePaylater was founded in December 2015 and is based in Mumbai. The company provides 14 days free credit period strategy within which users can make the payment. ePaylater currently accepts payments online through NEFT. The new IRCTC feature was first reported by BusinessWorld Disrupt.

Man Poses For Photo Near Railway Track, Dies After Being Hit By Train

Posing for photos near a railway track turned tragic for a man who lost his life while his relative suffered injuries after they were hit by a passenger train in Secunderabad, a Government Railway Police official said today.

The incident occurred on Sunday when Sampath Kumar, in his mid-30s, came to the city from Godavarikhani city and went to tracks along with his two relatives, GRP Secunderabad sub-inspector Nageswar Reddy said.

“The trio went near the tracks between Alwal and Bollarum railway stations. While Sampath and one of his relatives Sravan stood near the tracks, their another relative started clicking their photos with a mobile phone. After noticing a train approaching towards them their relative warned Sampath and Sravan to move aside from the tracks, but the duo insisted him to continue taking snaps when the train hit them,” the officer said.

While Sampath died on the spot, Mr Sravan has fractured one of his hands, he said, adding a case was registered.


To avert selfie deaths, Railways issue advisory – No phone, music while crossing tracks, no photography while travelling

A day after a student was killed when he fell down from a running train while trying to take a selfie, the Eastern Railway authorities on Friday urged passengers to be careful and issued guidelines.

A group of students was taking selfies near the door of an EMU train when suddenly one of them fell down from it and was killed between Liluah and Belur railway stations, Government Railway Police (GRP) sources said.

When the train slowed down, four other students alighted from the train in search of their friend who had fallen down but two of them were killed and as many injured when another train coming from the opposite direction hit them, the GRP sources said.

In a bid to avert any such incident in the future, a railway spokesman said they have already launched campaigns in print, television and social media to make passengers aware of the risks of using phones while travelling.

“We have launched campaigns in various media platforms urging people not to use a phone or listen to music while crossing the railway tracks and not to click photographs while travelling,” Chief Public Relations Officer of Eastern Railways Rabi Mahapatra said on Friday.

Stating that photography is “strictly prohibited” inside the railway station premises and trains without prior permission, he warned passengers of strict action if the rules are not followed.

“Photography inside the railway stations and the carriages is always strictly prohibited as these are considered restricted areas. However, with the emergence of phone cameras people often indulge in taking selfies in these places,” Mahapatra explained.

“We have detained and fined several passengers in the past for breaking the rule. Our RPF officials are instructed to monitor the passengers and catch anyone clicking photographs inside the train compartment. Anyone breaking the rule would be penalised,” he added.

Vistadome coach: India’s first train with glass-domed ceiling, 360 degrees reclining passenger seats launched

Visakhapatnam: Train journey to the picturesque Araku valley will be an even more delightful travelling experience as the Indian Railways has introduced a see-through Vistadome coach on its Visakhapatnam-Kirandul passenger train.

Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu flagged-off the train through a video link from Bhubaneswar.

The specially-designed Vistadome air-conditioned coach, claimed to be a first-of-its-kind on Indian Railways, has large glass windows and an observation lounge that offer passengers a panoramic view of the sites along the 128-km rail route from Visakhapatnam to Araku valley hill station.

A unique feature of this Rs 3.38 crore 40-seat coach is the double-wide reclining passenger seats that could be rotated 360 degrees for a better sightseeing experience.

The coach also has a glass-domed ceiling, automatic sliding doors and a multi-tier luggage rack, a railway release said.

The tourists can now sit relaxed in their seats and get a clear view of the breath-taking Anantagiri ghat section, Lambasingi, Borra caves and the tunnels along the route, from the Vistadome coach, unlike the crammed train compartments.

The Railway minister has shared some pictures of the coach via twitter:

Trains Stop After Maoists Blow Up Tracks in Jharkhand

Maoists began their day-long strike in Jharkhand today by blowing up railway tracks on the Howrah-New Delhi Grand Chord section, disrupting movement of several trains including the Rajdhani Express.

Dhanbad Superintendent of Police (Railway) Asim Vikrant Minz said tracks were blown up between Chichaki and Karmabad stations under Dhanbad Railway Division at 12.40 am, shortly after the “bandh” began at midnight.

Several long-distance trains including Kalka Mail, three Rajdhani Express trains, Hatia-Patna Express and Howrah-Dehradun Express stopped for some time, railway officials said. The schedule of freight trains was also regulated at different places.

Dhanbad Senior Divisional Commercial Manager AK Jha said train services on the route were restored after 7.40 am. Railway officials and personnel of the Railway Protection Police from Hazaribagh rushed to the spot immediately after the explosion, the police said.

In another incident, people torched a vehicle at Dhawatand on Dumri Road during the “bandh” called by Maoists, Giridih Superintendent of Police Akhilesh B Beriar said. They also set fire to an earth-moving machine engaged in constructing a bridge over Barakar river on Dumri-Birni border in the district, Sub-Divisional Police Officer Deepak Sharma said.

A report from Lohardaga district said the strike drew partial response as most shops and markets were open, but long-distance buses did not run. Tight security arrangements have been made in Lohardaga and Maoist-hit Khunti districts, police said.

 The Maoists called the “bandh” in protest against amendments to old land laws in Jharkhand, namely the Chhotanagpur Tenancy Act, and the Santhal Pargana Tenancy Act.

Cow Vigilantes Arrested For Attack On Cattle Caretakers In Bhubaneswar

Two self-styled cow vigilantes or ‘gau rakshaks’ have been arrested by the  Government Railway Police (GRP) personnel in Bhubaneswar for an attack on two caretakers of cows who were thrashed after being accused of transporting the cows for slaughter earlier this week.

Sudarshan Biswal, 39, and Sibananda Panda, 25, believed to members of the local Bajrang Dal unit have been booked for unlawful assembly, assault, rioting and deterring a public servant from discharging his duty.

According to the caretakers of the cows, they tried explaining to the attackers that they were transporting the cows to Guwahati and then to Meghalaya where they would be distributed by the Meghalaya government at a function to villagers and they were not transporting the cows for slaughter. But the vigilantes did not listen to their pleas and rained blows on them, despite the caretakers trying to explain.

The goons then raided the parcel van of the train at the station on Wednesday night after beating the caretakers and offloaded the cows as well. The station superintendent R K Patnaik registered a complaint with the GRP following which the arrests were made. The railway staff who tried to stop the attackers were also assaulted.

The two caretakers, Umesh Singh and Bimal Yadav, have now been given security by the GRP.

“We told them that we are taking the cows from Karnataka to Guwahati. They told us you take the cows for slaughter. We said we have papers but they started beating us,” Bimal Yadav told reporters at Bhubaneswar.

“We are verifying the CCTV footage of the station. Investigation is on. We will arrest other accused involved in the incident,” a senior GRP official told reporters.