Indian Railways News

Unable to Meet Expenses, Railways Halts 155-Year-Old ‘Coolie Train’ in Bihar’s Jamalpur

After a 155 year run, a train meant exclusively for rail employees and popularly known as the ‘coolie train’, came to its final and permanent halt on Wednesday. Started by the British in 1862, the historic train has for more than one-and-a-half century, ferried workers to-and-fro from Jamalpur engine factory in Munger district.

Sources in the railways said that with expenses to run the train going up to Rs 40-50 lakh, as against a revenue of Rs 1 lakh, there were no options left but to end the service.

Meanwhile, Jamalpur rail factory employees are pressing for the factory to resume the service unless they are provided with an alternative ferry service.

 Run and maintained by the Malda zone of the Indian Railways, the train was a lifeline for the workers who would come to the Jamalpur factory from Dhanauri and Sultangunj. The decision is bound to have adverse effects on these workers, who would always take a drop at the equally old factory’s Gate Number 6.
 Jamalpur Station Master Sudhir Kumar Singh told News18 that the authorities did not wait much before stopping the services after taking the decision.

While the train might have been popularly known as a ‘coolie train’, it became a lifeline to thousands living in dozens of villages on the Jamalpur–Dhanauri and Jamalpur–Sultangunj routes.

An Eastern Railways employee, Ashutosh Kumar, admitted that apart from the railway workers, locals would also board the ‘coolie train’ and stopping the service would undoubtedly cause them a major inconvenience.

Prakash, another railway employee says, the factory was founded on February 8, 1862 and since then the train has served these towns every day till now. The factory was founded by the East India Company when they were expanding their operations through the railway network.

Rakesh Kumar, the guard of ‘coolie train’, boarded it for the last time on Wednesday. He said that personally, there was a sense of loss. “I have been boarding this train for the past two years and today it feels like the foundation for these Jamalpur employees has slipped away from under their feet.”

Railway Unveils Its First Refurbished Shatabdi Express Under Operation Swarn

The Indian Railways on Monday unvieled its first Shatabdi Express train with upgraded comfort, enhanced hygiene, value-added features and improved interior under its ‘Operation Swarn’ programme.

The train, which will run between Uttarakhand’s Kathgodam and New Delhi, covering a distance of 282 km, now has a complete new refurbished interior with colorful vinyl wrapped seats and on-board entertainment services like luxury trains.

The new refurbished Shatabdi Express with enhanced features will leave for Kathgodam on Tuesday morning.

 The new version also boasts with features like vibrant vinyl wrappings in doorways, gangways and luggage rack panels, while the compartment aisle has been earmarked with fluorescent strips for guidance of passengers.

The railways has also worked on the coach exterior by applying an anti-graffiti coating for enhanced protection and an all anti-abrasion permanent coating for the polished look of coach flooring.

The Indian Railways has upgraded the toilets with additional features such as dustbins, personal seat covers, automatic odour and hygiene control system in all coaches. (Photo: News18.com)

It has also upgraded the toilets with additional features such as dustbins, personal seat covers, automatic odour and hygiene control system in all coaches.

It has also provided disposable head rest covers in the executive class coaches.

 Emphasising on on-board entertainment, the railways with the use of innovative technology, has provided Wi-Fi hotspots in the train so that the passengers can enjoy HD streaming of entertainment over their smart mobile phones.

Railway officials also said that special emphasis have been made with regard to upkeep of various passenger amenity fittings, and all the coaches have been provided with integrated Braille signages.

The Operation Swarn was undertaken by the Indian Railways in June with focus on 10 key areas — punctuality, cleanliness, linen, coach interiors, toilets, catering, staff behaviour, security, entertainment, housekeeping and regular feedback.

Under this Operation Swarn, the Railways has planned to spend Rs 50 lakh on each train. The Rs 25 crore venture covers 30 trains in total – 15 Rajdhani and 15 Shatabdi Express trains.

Railway has planned to progressively upgrade all Rajdhani and Shatabdi trains of similar or higher standards by March 2018.

The fifteen Rajdhani Express that would be covered under Operation Swarn include the ones plying to Mumbai, Howrah, Bhubaneshwar, Patna and Ranchi, while the Shatabdi Expresses running between Howrah-Puri, New Delhi-Kanpur, New Delhi-Chandigarh and Howrah-Ranchi are the ones included amongst the 15 premium trains under the project.

IRCTC Train Ticket Cancellation, Refund Rules For AC 1, AC 2, AC 3, Sleeper Class Tickets

Indian Railways carries over 2 crore passengers per day. Advance train ticket reservation can be made generally up to 120 days in advance for all classes of travel and the period of advance reservation (ARP) is exclusive of the day of departure of the train, says IRCTC, the e-ticketing arm of Railways, on its website. What are the train ticket cancellation and refund rules on confirmed, waitlisted and RAC tickets for sleeper and AC classes? E-tickets – or tickets booked online through IRCTC portal – can be cancelled online till chart preparation, says IRCTC. E-ticket cancellations are not allowed at railway counters.  The refund is credited back to the account used for booking online tickets, after deduction of applicable cancellation charges.
Train ticket cancellation and refund rules:

Remember that cancellation charges are levied on per passenger basis.

If confirmed ticket is cancelled up to 48 hours before the scheduled departure of train, then ticket cancellation charges will be deducted at Rs. 240 for AC First Class/Executive Class, Rs. 200 for AC 2 Tier/First Class, Rs. 180 for AC 3 Tier/AC Chair car/AC 3 Economy, Rs.120 for Sleeper Class and Rs.60 for Second Class.

If confirmed ticket is cancelled within 48 hours and up to 12 hours before the scheduled departure of train, ticket cancellation charges will be 25 per cent of the fare, subject to the minimum flat rate mentioned above.

If confirmed ticket is cancelled between 12 hours and up to four hours before the scheduled departure, cancellation charges will be 50 per cent of the fare paid subject, to the minimum cancellation rate.

 

How Railways Are Prepping For Fight Against Cyclone Ockhi In Mumbai

The Western Railway (WR) today said it has taken necessary precautions and made suitable arrangements in view of the warning about cyclone Ockhi in coastal areas of Maharashtra.

The India Meteorological Department has warned of heavy rainfall in north Konkan and north Madhya Maharashtra due to the cyclone.
The WR’s engineering control has been kept on alert to keep a watch on water level over railway tracks, it said in a release here.

Similarly, RPF and commercial control staff has been asked to monitor crowd movements and undertake necessary evacuation at stations in case of a disaster-like situation, the release said.

Patrolling of the tracks has been intensified over various rail sections. The Disaster Management Cell of WR is geared up to deal with any emergency, it added.

According to the release, all emergency numbers have been updated.

“A large number of RPF and other security personnel have been deployed on crowd management and other related activities at stations, yards. Ticket checking staff have also been put on crowd management duties,” it added.

 

Mumbai Local Train Narrowly Avoids Crash After Iron Rods Spotted On Track

A train accident was avoided today after the driver of a Mumbai suburban train spotted iron rods on the track and managed to stop it in time.

Officials said that the incident happened at around 7:30 am. Motorman Anurag Shukla spotted two rods lying on the track and stopped the Panvel-CST train, officials said.

The Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus railway police, which is investigating the incident, said it is possible that workers working along the tracks might have accidentally left the rods on the track.

An officer said there was also a chance that metal scrap thieves might have left the rod on the tracks and fled.

The officer said that a case had been registered and a team was scanning the CCTV footage to find out leads. He said that all angles, including sabotage, were being examined.

Government Saves Rs. 40 Crore As 9 Lakh Senior Citizens Give Up Railway Subsidy

Over 9 lakh senior citizens have voluntarily given up their ticket subsidies under the ‘give up’ scheme of the Railways, thereby helping the government to save around Rs. 40 crore.

Under the scheme launched last year, senior citizens had the option to either avail the full concession provided to them on rail tickets or forgo the entire amount. This year, a new option was added in which a senior citizen can give up 50 per cent of the subsidy.

The scheme was launched to reduce the nearly Rs. 1,300 crore subsidy burden of the Railways in the senior citizen category.

From July 22 to October 22, 2.16 lakh men and 2.67 lakh women gave up their full subsidy, while 2.51 lakh men and 2.05 lakh women decided not to avail 50 per cent of their subsidy – making the total number of passengers over 60 years to give up their subsidy at 9.39 lakh in three months.

During the same period last year, only about 4.68 lakh senior citizens gave up their subsidies – 2.35 lakh men and 2.33 lakh women.

“The figures show that the number of people letting forgoing the subsidy has doubled in one year. It is great news for Railways as we are looking to reduce our losses incurred through subsidies,” said a senior official of the ministry.
As of now, Railways bears 43 per cent of the cost of train fare and incurs a loss of about Rs. 30,000 crore a year in subsidising passenger fares out of which Rs. 1,600 crore is for concessional fares.

Railways recovers only 57 per cent of the expenses incurred for passenger transportation through sale of tickets of all classes.

All railway coaches to have bio-toilets by 2018

The Ministry of Railways has advanced the target for 100 percent completion of installing Bio-toilets in coaches to December 2018.

The decision was announced at event titled, “Indian Transport Sector: Marching towards sustainable mobility” at Conference of Parties (COP-23), Indian Pavilion at Bonn, Germany on Tuesday.

Ravindra Gupta, Member (Rolling Stock), Ministry of Railways, who is on official tour to Germany, presented the quintessential role of Indian Railways in promoting sustainable mobility.

Gupta also emphasized particularly on the innovative steps taken by Indian Railways by way of bio-toilets for having an open discharge free in line with mission of “Swachh Bharat” and an Open Defecation Free (ODF) Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Two sessions were organized as a part of this side event. The first session highlighted efforts of Indian Railways towards a low carbon pathway and the second was dedicated to overall sustainable mobility initiatives in Indian transport sector.

The event was attended by nearly 50 national and international participants including eminent speakers, policy makers, industry representatives.

The event started with an Audio-Visual film on Indian Railways showcasing key low carbon transport initiatives being taken by Indian Railways such as Electrification, Energy Efficiency initiatives, renewable energy deployment etc.

The session was organised in partnership with the Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW) and The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), as knowledge partners, FICCI as industry partner, and RITES as technical partner.

Govt approves one-time waiver of Railways’ dividend payout

The Union Cabinet on Thursday approved a proposal for a one-time waiver of the Indian Railways’ dividend payout of around Rs 9,000 crore to the general exchequer for 2016-17.

With this, the railways can now approach the Parliament for its approval to the waiver.

After the merger of the railway budget with the general budget last year, it was decided that the national transporter would not have to pay dividend for the capital invested in it.

While the railways was budgeted to pay Rs 9,730 crore as dividend for the last financial year, a subsidy of Rs 4,300 crore was claimed by it towards loss-making routes, putting the net dividend reportedly at about Rs 5,430 crore.

“The Cabinet approves the proposal of the Ministry of Railways to move a resolution in both the houses of Parliament adopting the Railway Convention Committee’s (2014) recommendations that for the year 2016-17, purely as a one- time move, the rate of dividend payable by the railways to the general revenues be waived off,” a Press Information Bureau (PIB) release said.

Train travels 160 kms in wrong direction, leaves 1,500 farmers on board stranded

New Delhi: Around 1,500 farmers were left stranded in a village in Madhya Pradesh when the special train they were travelling in went 160 kms in the wrong direction. Reports suggest that the train may have received an incorrect signal leading to it going off the designated route.

The farmers were travelling from New Delhi to Maharashtra but found themselves at an unfamiliar railway station in Madhya Pradesh – later identified as Banmore station near Gwalior, because their train – Swabhimani Express – went off course. In what is being regarded as a case of sheer negligence, Railway authorities were initially clueless about what needs to be done but have now reportedly directed the train towards Jhansi.

The train had left Delhi on Monday night and was carrying the farmers who reportedly belong to the All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee. They were in Delhi to attend a mass protest for waiving off bad debts and better monetary returns on their crops.

Cold Monday morning in Delhi, nine trains cancelled

New Delhi: It was cold Monday morning in Delhi with minimum temperature recorded at 8.3 degrees Celsius, a notch below the season’s average, a Met official said.

At least nine trains were cancelled and 26 were delayed due to fog in several parts of northern India, while two trains were rescheduled.

According to the India Meteorological Department, the sky will remain partly cloudy with the maximum temperature likely to hover around 23 degrees Celsius.

The humidity at 8.30 a.m. was recorded at 89 per cent.

Sunday’s minimum temperature was eight degrees Celsis and maximum temperature was 23.9 degrees Celsius, both a notch below the season’s average.