Indian Railways News

Indian Railways News

Indian Railways passengers note! No regular passenger trains likely till this month; details

Indian Railways has recently announced that it will refund the full booking amount to passengers of all train tickets booked up to April 14, 2020, for all regular time-tabled trains.At present, due to the COVID-19 crisis and lockdown, the national transporter is running 230 IRCTC special trains along with Shramik special trains.

Indian Railways passengers note! In a move that hints at no regular Indian Railways train services till mid-August, the national transporter has announced cancellation of all regular train tickets booked up to April 14. Indian Railways has recently announced that it will refund the full booking amount to passengers of all train tickets booked up to April 14, 2020, for all regular time-tabled trains. At present, due to the COVID-19 crisis and lockdown, the national transporter is running 230 IRCTC special trains along with Shramik special trains on the Indian Railways network. Though it is being said that more trains are likely to be operated by Indian Railways to meet any demand, but sources told Financial Express Online that these passenger services may also be branded as IRCTC special trains.

In case of train cancellations, Indian Railways refunds the full amount to passengers, however the advise is that passengers should refrain from going to the IRCTC website to cancel their booking. The refund will be automatically credited to the user’s account once the train is cancelled in our system, IRCTC has said for online train ticket bookings.

In the light of the novel coronavirus outbreak, the national transporter had suspended advance reservations for regular trains from 15 April 2020. Since 25 March 2020, when the nationwide lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic began, all regular train services of the national transporter have been cancelled by Indian Railways. However, to ferry those who are stranded and those who have to undertake urgent train journeys, Piyush Goyal-led Indian Railways started IRCTC special trains services from 12 May 2020 onwards. Initially, the IRCTC special train services consisted of 30 Rajdhani-style AC trains, including the to-and-fro journeys, but from 1 June 2020, additional 200 IRCTC special trains were introduced including non-AC sleeper train services.

To travel on these IRCTC special trains, tickets can be booked on the IRCTC website (irctc.co.in) or IRCTC mobile application, at reservation counters, post offices, through agents, etc. All the passenger trains that are currently being operated by Indian Railways are fully reserved services with limited waitlisted tickets. To prevent novel coronavirus infection, all those who are commencing train journeys on these special trains must follow certain guidelines like downloading Aarogya Setu application, social distancing, wearing of masks, thermal screening at stations, etc.

North Eastern Railway Deploys COVID-19 Isolation Coaches At 14 Stations

The North Eastern Railway has deployed train coaches converted into coronavirus isolation wards at 14 of its stations, a senior official said today.

At every station, as many as 10 coaches have been deployed for suspected COVID-19 patients, while an AC coach has been deployed for doctors and nurses, and a SLR coach for keeping things.

Till now, as many as 59 suspected patients were admitted to the coronavirus isolation wards at a railway station, out of which 20, have been discharged.

“On the directives of the Uttar Pradesh government, the North Eastern Railway has deployed 10 non-air conditioned coaches, modified to work as COVID-19 care centers (in addition to AC coach for doctors and nurses, and SLR coach to keep things) at 14 railway stations of Mau, Gorakhpur, Varanasi city, Gonda, Bareilly city, Marhuadih, Ballia, Ghazipur city, Azamgarh, Nautanwa, Farrukhabad, Bhatni, Bahraich and Kasganj.

“The coach meant for Deoria Sadar Railway Station is currently in Bhatni, and will be soon taken to Deoria Sadar station. This way, there will be 15 such stations where the special coaches will be deployed,”Chief Public Relation Officer of North Eastern Railways Pankaj Kumar Singh said.

He said each isolation coach will have eight cabins with each cabin having the space for two patients.

“In other words, there will be 16 patients in one coach, and 160 patients at a station. Adequate arrangements for fans and lights have been made. Mosquito nets have also been installed on the windows,” Mr Singh said.

The railway is looking after the safety and cleanliness of the coaches, while the treatment aspect is handled by the health department of the district.

A separate path to the special coaches has been reserved so that the common public does not take this route. This road will be used for transportation of patients by medical teams and other staff.

“Till now, these coaches were being used only in Mau. In Mau, on June 20, the district administration admitted 42 suspected coronavirus patients, and 17 patients on June 21. On June 22, as many as 20 patients were discharged. As of now, 39 suspected patients are admitted in these modified coaches,” he said.

The senior official also informed that the North Eastern Railway has modified a total of 217 coaches.

Northern Railways Moves 62.5 Lakh Tonne Food Grains To 18 Deficient States In 2 Months

To ensure enhanced availability of Public Distribution System (PDS) food grains reach the ration shops all across India in time, Northern Railways has moved a total of 2,218 rakes carrying about 62.47 lakh tonnes (LT) of wheat and rice to 18 deficient states during the period April 1 to June 8.

Indian Railways, the largest passenger transportation in the country has been an active participant in the country’s fight against the coronavirus. As the lockdown came into effect in India, all passenger train operations were staled from midnight of March 22, Over 12 thousand mail express, premium and suburban trains stopped running on the rail network.

A situation never encountered in the 167 years of Indian Railways. However, Goods trains continued their run unabated.

Rajiv Chaudhry, General Manager Northern & North Central Railways shared the information that the Task at Hand given to Northern Railway was to maintain a steady supply chain to feed 80 crores NFSA beneficiaries through the continuous evacuation of food grain from the granaries of Punjab and Haryana. The challenge was stiffer on account of demanding working conditions due to the pandemic and consequent lockdown. The availability of wagons, timely dispatch of food grain rakes, arranging staff and keeping them motivated to perform in the tough conditions was an uphill task for the Divisions involved.

As the Lockdown period was further extended, the Government announcement to provide an additional 5 kg food grain per person to NFSA beneficiaries. To meet the demand deficient states were permitted to lift 3 months” stock from FCI on credit. There was more pressure on the Railways to provide for the enhanced evacuation. This resulted in a sudden increase in loading requirement from average 15 to almost 3.6 times more rakes in a day over Northern Railways. An all-time high record of single day loading of 54 rakes was achieved on 22-04-20.

Since freight movement in covered rakes was being discouraged, managing the adequate supply of empty rakes from across the country and moving them to Punjab and Haryana for loading was an arduous task.

Chinese Firm On Railways Project Told To Go After Ladakh Violence

The economic backlash against China following Monday’s violence in Ladakh — in which 20 Indian soldiers died — continued today with a Chinese firm given a railways contract being show the door. The public utility DFCCIL (Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation of India) said it was ending the Rs 471-crore contract “in view of poor progress”.

Four years ago, the contract to build signals on a 417-km freight corridor was granted to the Beijing National Railway Research and Design Institute of Signal and Communication Group Co. Ltd.

The DFCCIL, which is under the railways ministry, today said in four years, the Chinese company has been able to complete only 20 per cent of the project.

At least four other Chinese firms, which are involved in various railways’ projects, also stand to lose business.

Yesterday, government sources said the Department of Telecom is set to “firmly tell” the state-owned Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd not to use Chinese equipment in its 4G upgradation in view of security issues.

Sources said the department has also decided to rework the tender in this regard. The government is also considering asking private operators to reduce their dependence on equipment made by Chinese firms.

Following Monday’s clash at Ladakh’s Galwan Valley – the worst in nearly five decades — anti-Chinese sentiment has been sweeping the country. There has been a call to boycott Chinese goods by the all-India traders’ body — the Confederation of All India Traders or CAIT.

It has also appealed to celebrities including Amitabh Bachhan, Akshay Kumar, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, and Sachin Tendulkar, to stop endorsing Chinese products under its “Bhartiya Saaman 

Chinese Firm On Railways Project Told To Go After Ladakh Violence

The economic backlash against China following Monday’s violence in Ladakh — in which 20 Indian soldiers died — continued today with a Chinese firm given a railways contract being show the door. The public utility DFCCIL (Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation of India) said it was ending the Rs 471-crore contract “in view of poor progress”.

Four years ago, the contract to build signals on a 417-km freight corridor was granted to the Beijing National Railway Research and Design Institute of Signal and Communication Group Co. Ltd.

The DFCCIL, which is under the railways ministry, today said in four years, the Chinese company has been able to complete only 20 per cent of the project.

At least four other Chinese firms, which are involved in various railways’ projects, also stand to lose business.

Yesterday, government sources said the Department of Telecom is set to “firmly tell” the state-owned Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd not to use Chinese equipment in its 4G upgradation in view of security issues.

Sources said the department has also decided to rework the tender in this regard. The government is also considering asking private operators to reduce their dependence on equipment made by Chinese firms.

Following Monday’s clash at Ladakh’s Galwan Valley – the worst in nearly five decades — anti-Chinese sentiment has been sweeping the country. There has been a call to boycott Chinese goods by the all-India traders’ body — the Confederation of All India Traders or CAIT.

It has also appealed to celebrities including Amitabh Bachhan, Akshay Kumar, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, and Sachin Tendulkar, to stop endorsing Chinese products under its “Bhartiya Saaman – Hamara Abhiman” campaign.

Several Chinese firms have hit pause on scheduled launches and projects in India.

Chinese handset maker Oppo has cancelled the livestream launch of its flagship 5G smartphone in the country. Tech firm Vivo has even postponed the 100 per cent Make in India announcement.

Delhi Railway Station To Have Isolation Coaches For COVID-19 Patients

The Railways will not run any trains from Anand Vihar station from Monday and all the platforms will be used to deploy isolation coaches for coronavirus patients that the Centre will provide to the Delhi government to overcome the shortage of hospital beds.

All five trains which operated from the station will now be run from Old Delhi railway station till further orders.

Home Minister Amit Shah earlier Sunday said the Centre would provide 500 railway coaches to Delhi in view of the shortage of beds.

The Railways has already deployed 54 such coaches at the maintenance depot of the Shakurbasti station and is planning to deploy the remaining coaches on the seven platforms of Anand Vihar station.

There were five trains from Anand Vihar station operated by the Northern Railways. The services were to Motihari, Raxaul, Muzaffarpur in Bihar and two trains to Ghazipur city in Uttar Pradesh.

The Railways has deployed 204 isolation coaches in four states so far.

Delhi recorded 2,224 fresh coronavirus cases on Sunday in the highest single-day spike in the national capital, taking the infection tally to over 41,000, and the death count mounted to 1,327, authorities said.

This is the third successive day when over 2,000 cases have been reported in a day in Delhi. The previous highest spike in fresh cases — 2,137 — was recorded on June 12.

UP, Delhi, Telangana Seek Isolation Coaches From Railways As COVID-19 Cases Spike

After almost two months, the railways’ isolation coaches have finally found takers — Uttar Pradesh has asked for 240 such coaches for 24 locations, Telangana has requisitioned 60 for three places and Delhi has asked for 10 such coaches as COVID-19 cases in India close in on the three lakh mark.

The first COVID-19 isolation coach of the railways was deployed at Shakur Basti railway stations in Delhi on May 31. It had 10 coaches with 160 beds.

The coaches can be used for very mild cases that can be clinically assigned to the coronavirus care centres according to guidelines issued by the health ministry.

“Sixty coaches have been requisitioned by Telangana at Secunderabad, Kachiguda and Adilabad. Ten coaches have been requisitioned by Delhi. Each coach has a capacity for 16 beds.”

“However, the composition of the COVID care centres (rakes) will be decided as per the requirements of the state. As of now, Telangana which has asked for 60 coaches will get 960 beds which they can use in the three locations they have identified. Uttar Pradesh has asked for 240 coaches,” railway spokesperson said.

Uttar Pradesh on Thursday reported 24 more deaths and 478 new coronavirus cases, the biggest single-day spike in both numbers so far as the state battles a COVID-19 surge. The number of deaths in the state stood at 345 after three consecutive days of record highs while the COVID-19 tally reached 12,088. It now has 4,451 active cases.

Telangana has reported 4,111 coronavirus cases so far, while Delhi, which is among the worst-hit cities, has reported 32,810 cases.

India saw the highest single-day spike of 357 fatalities and 9,996 cases on Thursday, pushing the number of deaths to 8,102 and the nationwide tally to 2,86,579. According to the Health Ministry, the country registered over 9,500 cases for the seventh day in a row, while the casualty figure crossed the 300-mark for the first time.

Amid the surge in cases, Uttar Pradesh has asked for a minimum of 10 COVID care centre coach at 24 railway stations including Varanasi City, Jhansi, Gorakhpur, Gonda, Bareilly City, Saharanpur, Sonbhadra, Azamgarh and others.

In Delhi, the COVID care centre consists of 10 non-AC coaches with 160 beds and three AC coaches for healthcare staffers, including doctors.

These coaches are the first of the 5,321 coaches which have been converted into isolation wards by the railways for the treatment of coronavirus patients.

According to the integrated COVID plan developed by the health ministry and the NITI Aayog, these coaches can be used in areas where the state has exhausted the facilities and needs to augment capacities for isolation of both suspected and confirmed COVID-19 cases.

The train coaches have all necessary medical equipment such as oxygen cylinders, blankets, medical supplies, sterilized berths for the safety and convenience of the individuals placed in isolation.

According to the Railway Ministry, these coaches-turned-isolation wards will be equipped with mosquito nets, charging points for laptop and phones. The toilets also have been modified into bathrooms.

Railways Registers Best Ever Safety Record In 2019-20

The Indian Railways recorded its best-ever safety performance during the past year with zero passenger deaths due to rail accidents.

While the Railways registered the best ever safety record between April 2019 and March 2020, there has been no death of rail passengers in any train accident in the subsequent period also between April 1 and June 8 this year.

An official release said that the remarkable feat has been achieved for the first time in 2019-2020 since the introduction of Railway System in India 166 years ago in 1853.

It said the zero passenger fatalities in the last 15 months is a result of continuous efforts by the railways to improve safety performance in all respects.

The release said that safety being the topmost priority, the measures undertaken for safety improvement include elimination of manned level crossings, construction of Road over Bridges (ROBs) and Road under Bridges (RUBs), rehabilitation of bridges, highest ever renewal of rail tracks and highest ever supply of rails during the year from SAIL.

Other measures taken include effective track maintenance, stringent monitoring of safety aspects, improved training of railway staff, improvements in signalling system, use of modern technology for safety works and switching over to modern and safer LHB coaches in phases from the conventional ICF coaches.

The Railways removed a record number of manned level crossings to enhance safety.

“Record number of 1274 Manned Level Crossings have been eliminated in 2019-20 compared to 631 in 2018-19 (double of that done in last year). This is highest ever elimination of level crossings,” the release said.

It said a 1309 ROBs/RUBs were constructed in 2019-20 to enhance safety on the railway network and 1367 bridges were “rehabilitated during 2019-20 compared to 1013 (+37 per cent of last year)”.

The Railways saw the highest ever renewal of rails for 5,181 track km (TKM) in 2019-20 against 4,265 TKM in 2018-19, which comes to 20 per cent of last year.

There was highest ever supply of rails (13.8 lakh ton) during the year from SAIL. “With supply of 6.4 Lakh ton long rails, the scope of field welding decreased drastically leading to better reliability of asset,” the release said.

It said 285 level crossings (LC) have been interlocked by signals in 2019-20 and the cumulative interlocked LC numbers are 11,639.

To improve safety, mechanical signalling at 84 stations was replaced with electrical/electronic signalling during 2019-20.

Provide Demand On Need Of Trains For Migrants: Railways To States

The Railways has written to the states asking them to provide a “comprehensive residual” demand for Shramik Special trains to ferry migrants to their homes by June 10, hours after the Supreme Court directed the Centre to complete the process in the next 15 days.

The Railways has run more than 4,347 Shramik Special trains to transport approximately 60 lakh persons to their destination states since May 1.

In a letter to the Chief Secretaries of the states, Railway Board Chairman VK Yadav said the Supreme Court has directed that in event of any additional demand – in addition to the demand of 171 Shramik trains already projected by the states/UTs – the Railways shall provide Shramik Special trains within a period of 24 hours of the request of states/UTs to facilitate the movement of migrant workers.

“In this context, you may please advise the comprehensive residual demand for Shramik Special Trains for the movement of stranded workers from your state/UT along with the number of travellers, originating station, destination station, schedule and dates by which the transportation shall be completed.

“The details may kindly be communicated through an official letter by June 10,” he said in the letter issued on Tuesday.

The Supreme Court on Tuesday directed the Centre and state governments to send all the migrant workers to their native places within 15 days and formulate employment schemes after conducting their skill mapping to rehabilitate them.

A bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan, Sanjay Kishan Kaul and M R Shah also directed the Centre to provide additional trains within 24 hours of states making the demand for sending the migrant workers back to their native places.

Pakistan Railways Minister, Former Prime Minister Test Positive For Coronavirus

Pakistan’s former Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and incumbent Railways Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmad have tested positive for coronavirus on Monday.

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) spokesperson Maryam Aurangzeb confirmed that 61-year-old Shahid Abbasi has been infected by the virus.

Mr Abbasi, who is the Senior Vice President of the PML-N, served as prime minister from August 2017 to May 2018 after his party leader Nawaz Sharif was de-seated by a court ruling in a corruption case.

He has gone into self-isolation at his house after receiving the COVID-19 test report on Monday, party officials said.

Railways Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmad also tested positive for coronavirus, a statement by his office said.

“Sheikh Rashid has tested positive for COVID-19,” the statement said, adding that he has gone into self-isolation and will remain in quarantine for two weeks as per doctors’ advice.

Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) leader and former provincial minister Sharjeel Memon had tested positive for coronavirus on Sunday.

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s provincial lawmaker Chaudhry Ali Akhtar also tested positive for the virus, his spokesperson said.

The spokesperson shared that Mr Akhtar is in home isolation and has gotten himself tested after showing symptoms of the virus. Mr Akhtar was elected from Punjab Assembly’s Faisalabad III in the 2018 elections.

At least four lawmakers, including a provincial minister, have died due to coronavirus in Pakistan.

Five persons, including two officers, at Pakistan’s Foreign Office have tested positive for coronavirus, Foreign Office spokesperson Aisha Farooqui said on Sunday, adding that the cases emerged in the office within the past week.

Pakistan’s coronavirus cases crossed the 1,00,000-mark on Sunday and the infection is spreading fast in the country.