Indian Railways News

MoU signed between RLDA & IRCON International for Redevelopment of Delhi Safdarjung Railway Station

Ministry of Railways has entrusted the work of redevelopment of Delhi Safdarjung Railway Station to IRCON along with RLDA by leveraging the commercial potential of the railway land around the station including RLDA’s office as well as air space above the railway station.

In the gracious presence of Shri Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu, Minister of Railways, Rail Land Development Authority (RLDA), a Statutory Authority under Ministry of Railways, Government of India signed an MoU for this purpose with IRCON International Limited, a Public Sector Undertaking under Ministry of Railways.

Shri Rakesh Goyal, Vice Chairman RLDA and Shri S. K. Chaudhary, CMD IRCON signed the MOU. Delhi Safdarjung station is proposed to be developed on self-financing model for which finance will be raised through marketing of the commercial built-up area that will be developed on the surplus railway land and air space as part of the Station development project. The land and the constructed buildings will continue to remain under the ownership and control of RLDA and only the commercial built-up area will be leased for upto 45 years by RLDA, the statement said.

IRCON will carry out design, construction and marketing of the project. The Phase-I of the project will come up on the Moti Bagh side of the Station and is targeted for completion by January 2019.

They are expected to leverage the commercial potential of the railway land around the station as well as the air space above it. The station is proposed to be developed on a self- financing model for which finance will be raised through marketing of the commercial built-up area that will be developed on the surplus railway land and air space as part of the station development project.

GE reveals Indian Railways Evolution Locomotive livery

The livery of the Evolution Series diesel locomotives which GE Transportation is building for Indian Railways was unveiled on August 3 when the first painted locomotive was rolled out of the Erie plant’s paint shop. The ES43ACmi required 190 litres of paint, with the red chosen to represent energy and yellow to represent freshness. With paint completed, GE expects to ship the locomotive in a few weeks. It is expected to arrive in India later this year.

‘It is great to see Indian Railways’ first locomotive emblazoned in the railroad’s ornate paint scheme,’ said Nalin Jain, President & CEO of Asia Pacific at GE Transportation, adding the locomotives would ‘instill a sense of pride in Indians nationwide’.

In November 2015 GE Transportation and the Ministry of Railways signed a US$2·6bn joint venture agreement for the supply of 700 Type ES43ACmi twin-cab locomotives of 4 500 hp, to be designated Class WDG4G by Indian Railways, and 300 ES57ACi single-cab locomotives of 6 000 hp.

The first 100 of the 1 676 mm gauge freight locomotives are to be exported from the USA complete or in kit form, while the government’s Make in India programme requires the rest to be produced with mainly domestic components at a factory which GE is building at Marhowra in Bihar.

GE Transportation is preparing to ship the first locomotive from the USA in a few weeks. Production of the ES57ACi locomotives is scheduled to begin later this year.

‘This new ES43ACmi locomotive is ideal for Indian Railways’ modernisation efforts’, said Yuvbir Singh, Vice-President of Global Locomotive Operations at GE Transportation. ‘It will provide greatly improved fuel efficiency and emissions compared to Indian Railways’ existing non-Evolution Series fleet.’

Railways says no to exclusive Board member for Safety issues

The Railways has rejected a Parliamentary standing committee recommendation to include a member in the Railway Board exclusively to deal with safety- related issues of the national carrier.

In its reply, the railways has said the safety aspect is integral to the construction, certification, operation and maintenance of the railway system and each member is responsible for their respective departments like rolling stock, infrastructure, etc..

“Overall coordination is done by the Member (Traffic), Railway Board. Hence, the question of separate member for safety is not pertinent,” it said.

While making the recommendation, the committee had said having a nodal department for safety would help synchronise micro-level measures into a holistic macro-level railway operations, unaffected by inter-departmental differences on the issue.

The standing committee report, which was tabled in the Lok Sabha today, said “such an attitude reflects the ministry’s unwillingness to relinquish age-old practises and procedures.”

“The committee feels that the Member (Traffic) is fully engrossed with running of trains through the entire railway network in India and the related works on a daily basis. A separate member for safety would be able to exclusively focus on safety issues of railways,” the committee said.

It reiterated the ministry should review its stand on the matter and give serious consideration to “optimising the composition of the railway board”.

Foundation Stone for India’s first Bullet Train ready prior to Japan PM Shinzo Abe‘s visit to India

Plans to run India’s first bullet trains that will race between Mumbai and Ahmedabad will soon get off the drawing board. Visiting Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Prime Minister Narendra Modi will next month lay the foundation stone for the trains that could run at speeds of 350 kilometre an hour.

The project is expected to be completed for the first ride in the next six years.

The bullet train will reduce the journey between Ahmedabad and Mumbai to two hours from seven; there are a total of 12 stations on the 508-km route – four of which are in Maharashtra and eight in Gujarat. Sources told that the bullet train on this route would mostly, 92 per cent, run on elevated tracks.

The bullet train will start underground from the Bandra-Kurla Complex in Mumbai and travel 27 km through a tunnel in the sea before emerging over ground at Thane. It is estimated to cost about Rs. 97,636 crore.

“The entire funding for this or more or less 85 per cent of this will come from the Japanese and that too on very soft terms,” Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu told the Lok Sabha on Wednesday.

But other cities too are going to get faster trains.

Mr Prabhu said his ministry had drawn up maps for high-speed corridors on different routes between Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Chennai, Mysuru and Bengaluru that would let trains touch speeds of 350 km an hour. On other routes such as Chennai-Hyderabad and Chennai-Mysuru, there would be trains that travel at speeds ranging from 160 to 250 km.

That, however, is the plan. For now, the minister conceded that India’s fastest trains – the Rajdhani and Duronto – were getting delayed because of heavy traffic on the lines. Some networks are operating at 160 per cent to 170 per cent of the capacity,” he said.

Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu said the Mumbai-Ahmedabad high speed rail project has been sanctioned for implementation with technical and financial assistance of the Japanese government. “Procurement of high speed rolling stock is an integral part of the project that envisages promoting ‘Make-in-India’ of high speed rolling stock in a phased manner,” he said.

Around 85 per cent of the funding for the project would come from the Japanese and that too on “very soft terms”. “This is the best soft term under the Overseas Development Assistance,” he added.

In reply to a query as to why Rajdhani and Duronto trains are getting delayed, Prabhu said a major reason for train delays is heavy congestion as there has been a significant increase in traffic compared to the railway infrastructure.


16-Year-Old Boy Dies, Girl Injured In Attack By Unknown Person

Two teenagers were attacked by an unknown person while they were taking a stroll near the railway line behind Kadkad model village in the industrial area under Link Road police station, the police said.

While the 16-year-old boy died, the girl was hospitalised with a deep gash on her neck, they said.

SP, City, Akash Tomar said that a 16-year-old boy was returning after a stroll with a girl, student of class X, on Tuesday evening.

Some unknown person stabbed Rahul to death and slit the throat of the girl, Mr Tomar said.

The girl was admitted to a nearby hospital where she is undergoing treatment, he added. The body of the boy has been sent for post-mortem, the SP said.

An FIR has been lodged by Rahul’s elder brother Brijesh and the police are now waiting for the girl’s statement, Mr Tomar said.

The girl presently is not in a position to give any statement, Mr Tomar added.

Google says RailTel’s WiFi service far better than those in London and San Francisco

The Wifi connectivity provided by Google as part of the RailTel project is faster than those in San Francisco and London, said Google India’s Gulzar Azad, Country Head-Connectivity.

He also added that the Indian version is far ahead in terms of coverage and capacity.

The head of Google India’s connectivity department was speaking in an interview regarding the RailTel project, which is being executed in partnership of the Indian Railways.

RailTel Corporation of India Limited – a Public Sector Telecom PSU under Ministry of Railways, is part of the Digital India drive of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Launched in January 2016, the project aims to provide WiFi broadband access to railway passengers in more than 400 major stations by 2018.

The service at present is available in 140 railway stations including New Delhi and Hazrat Nizamuddin. The speed is at present 20 to 40 mbps for the first 30 minutes followed by a gradual decrease in order to manage bandwidth.

Azad said that the rise in data consumption following the arrival of Jio has increased the demand for data, but without hampering the RailTel’s growth. RailTel’s customers, he said, have increased to 65 lakh monthly users from 50 lakh since the emergence of free data phenomenon.

With regard with the lack of proper publicity for the project, Azad said that steps will be taken to make people more aware of the service. But he also added that more co-operation is needed with the Indian Railways to find innovative modes for publicity.

The RailTel project once fully implemented is set to become the largest WiFi project in the planet.

Gulzar said that Google want a billion people online and we want all of them on broadband. It is clear that the digital is an economic growth force. But the Google’s ultimate goal is that billion number of broadband users, each of them using 10 GB a month. The contributions have to come from the internet world, content players, telecom companies and the government. The data revolution has taken some time to come out in India. But it cannot be more inspiring with merger happening, transformation happening. Google would like to achieve 10GB per user per month in the next 4-5 years. Gulzar said that in last one year, we began with Railways WiFi and completed the 140 stations. Usage levels we are seeing from users, government and industry exhilarating. Which is why Google announced to create a product platform, Google Station to allow fast, reliable and secure Wi-Fi by ISPs, establishments and venues. Google also looking for more partnership around the Google station platform. Also L&T is one we are discussions with. Some will convert in the deals.

In India 115 stations stations live, our goal is to get to 400 stations with high speed networks, which jointly created by Google and RailTel. Our main focused on assuring that the monetization kicks in this year.

Railway Board clarifies details regarding Payment of Taxes under GST system for ongoing Supply Contracts

In a letter to the MSME suppliers in West Bengal, Railways has clarified various details regarding payment of taxes under GST system for ongoing supply contracts as on July 1, 2017 to Railways.

Railway Board said in case of purchase order with Original Delivery Period before June 30, 2017 where the material is supplied (wholly or partly) after June 30, 2017 during extended Delivery period, “Such situations shall be dealt under Denial Clause with payment restricted to lower of contract tax rate or tax rate under GST regime with the stipulation that any additional Input Tax Credit (ITC) benefit, if becomes available to supplier, the same shall be passed on to purchaser without any undue delay.”

For Valid Purchase order with Delivery Period after 30.06.2017 where the material is supplied (wholly or partly of it) after 30.06.2017 within Original DP or extended DP, “Such contract shall be dealt under SVC clause and payment with prevailing GST rate (whether having positive or negative variation) shall be made with the stipulation that any additional Input Tax Credit (ITC) benefit, if becomes available to supplier, the same shall be passed on to purchaser without any undue delay.”

In contracts where SVC is specifically mentioned as Not Applicable”, the payment in such:, cases shall be restricted to lower of contract tax rate or tax rates under GST regime with the stipulation that any additional Input Tax Credit (ITC) benefit, if become available to supplier, the same shall be passed on to purchaser without any undue delay.

Also, the payment of taxes in such situations shall be released by paying authority without any formal amendment against individual contract / Purchase order.

Meanwhile, the Railways clarified that for supplies effected after 30.06.20, the firm shall – Submit the Invoice / bill clearly indicating the appropriate HSN and applicable GST rate thereon duly supported with documentary evidence; and Give a declaration that any additional Input Tax Credit benefit, if become available to supplier, the same shall be passed on to purchaser without any undue delay.

Despite floods, Railways’ July freight and passenger Biz up

The railways, which has been losing business to the roadways, seems to be gaining ground with both its freight and passenger traffic showing an upward trend in July, which is generally considered a lean month.

This year, July has seen a robust growth with the freight loading being at an all-time high for the month at 94.09 million tonnes, 4.75 million tonnes more than July last year, said a senior official of the ministry.

The passenger traffic sector has also done significantly better compared to last year.

According to the latest figures, 60.5 million more passengers travelled this year between April and July 20 – a growth of 2.41 per cent – compared to the corresponding period last year.

The passenger earnings this year up to July 20 increased to Rs 15,758 crore as against Rs 14,739 crore in the corresponding period last year, according to the figures.

The loading of steel went up by 25 per cent, iron ore by 12.71 per cent, cement by 15.11 per cent, container by 10.31 per cent, petroleum, oil and lubricants by 6.83 per cent and other commodities by 11 per cent as compared to July last year.

The coal loading, however, recorded a mere rise of 0.44 per cent, mostly because of flooding in the mines.

The April-July loading this year was 375.32 million tonnes, which is an approximate increase of 15 million tonnes compared to the corresponding period last year.

“The railways has taken several measures since April-May when freight rationalisation was undertaken. Freight charges were reduced from anywhere between 5-30 per cent. Rebates on empty freight rakes and other such steps have worked for us. We were losing out to roads but now things are picking up,” said the senior official.

July is usually considered a lean month for the railways because of heavy monsoon rains and flooding in several parts of the country. This year is no different with Gujarat, Rajasthan and several Northeast states reeling under floods, which have claimed over 200 lives and damaged infrastructure.

“During 2012 to 2016, we have seen a downward trend in passenger earnings by around one to two per cent yearly. Now, we have not only stopped the decline by reversing the trend, in the last four months, we have seen a 2.4 per cent growth in the passenger traffic,” the senior official said.


Book Tatkal Railway Tickets Now And Pay Later

People can now pay later for tickets booked under the tatkal quota on the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corp (IRCTC) website, it was announced on Wednesday.

Till now, this service was available only for general reservations. For tatkal bookings people had to pay first via the standard online payment gateways before the IRCTC portal confirmed their ticket.

For tatkal tickets, IRCTC users will be able to pay via cash, debit card or credit card by opting to have tickets delivered at their doorstep, said IRCTC payment provider Anduril Technologies.

IRCTC processes 130,000 tatkal transactions daily. A majority of these tickets is booked within minutes of the quota opening.

The new feature eliminates the transaction failures as often the money gets debited and the ticket is not issued due to multiple reasons. The refund cycle is of about seven to 15 days.

“The pay on delivery feature completely circumvents the use of a payment gateway and will help users make the bookings in just a few seconds greatly increasing their chance of booking a confirmed ticket under the tatkal quota,” said Anduril Technologies CEO Anurag Bajpai.

He said it will hugely benefit millions of travellers.

Railways begins process of phasing-out of Blankets in AC Coaches

After the CAG rap, the Railways has begun the process of doing away with providing blankets in AC compartments and is instead regulating the temperature inside the coaches so that passengers don’t shiver.
The ‘no-blankets rule’ has now been implemented in the third AC coach of the Jammu Mail, a senior official of the railway ministry said.

“The ministry has started the process of gathering data from passengers on the viability of not having blankets on trains. Once we find how many of them ask for blankets and how many say that they can do without these, we will come to a decision about replicating the project in other trains,” the official said.

The railways is using thermal control and regulating the temperature in the third AC compartment of the Delhi-Jammu train to around 24-26 degree Celsius from the current 19 degrees so that passengers are comfortable and do not need blankets.

The step to phase out blankets from trains was taken after severe criticism from the Comptroller and Auditor General in its report recently about dirty blankets and bedrolls.

Senior officials said that eventually the plan is to replace blankets with cotton sheets which would be enough for passengers given the revised temperatures being maintained in the compartments.

The no-blanket move would also be more economical for the Railways — it takes Rs 55 to clean the bedroll while passengers are charged just Rs 22 for it.

However, officials said blankets will be carried in the trains in case these are needed by passengers.

Railways offer blankets with covers in AC coaches after CAG picks holes in hygiene levels

Responding to a CAG report questioning the hygiene and cleanliness levels of bedrolls in trains, the Indian Railways has started providing blankets with covers in the first-class air conditioned compartments.

A Business Standard report, over the weekend, had suggested the railways could do away with blanketsaltogether as the costs of getting the laundry cleaned was not economical, as also monitoring hygiene standards for the linen was difficult due to absence of quality checks at departmental mechanised laundries.

“We now provide blankets with covers in AC first class. The service has been started in all the major railways’ divisions. By the end of this month, the service will be available across all divisions. These covers will be washed daily,” said railways spokesperson Anil Saxena.

Railways was also said to be considering raising the temperature to 24 degrees from 19 degrees to avoid providing blankets. Saxena clarified “We are looking into its feasibility and practicability.”

The Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) had pointed out that norms pertaining to maintaining cleanliness standard of the laundry were not being followed. While guidelines stipulated by the railways require the linen to be washed after every use and dry-cleaned every two months, it was not being done.