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Fri Dec 9, 2016 05:34:58 ISTHomeTrainsΣChainsAtlasPNRForumGalleryNewsFAQTripsLoginFeedback
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Yesterday (11:06PM)  Over 206 hectares of Northern Railway land under encroachment (www.railnews.co.in)
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Other NewsNR/Northern  -  

News Entry# 288062     
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Posted by: Record Breaking Year^~  69 news posts
New Delhi: Over 206 hectares of Northern Railway’s land is under encroachment, the Lok Sabha was informed today.
Total 206.37 hectares of land is under encroachment in Northern Railway including Jammu and Kashmir as on March this year, Minister of State for Railways Rajen Gohain said in a written reply.
Most of the encroachments on railway land are in the approaches of stations in metros and big cities in the form of slums, he said.
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certain locations, these encroachments cause bottlenecks and safety hazard in train operations and difficulties in maintenance which at times affect the line capacity ultimately affecting the revenue of railways.
For these encroachments, railways carry out regular surveys and take action for their removal.
If the encroachments are of a temporary nature, in the shape of jhuggis and squatters, the same are removed in consultation and with the assistance of RPF and local civic authorities.
However, for old encroachments, where party is not amenable to persuasion, action is taken under Public Premises (Eviction of Unauthorised Occupants) Act, 1971 as amended from time to time and evictionis carried out with the assistance of state government and police.
  
Yesterday (11:04PM)  Non interlocked working at Aunrihar-Rajwari-Kadipur Sarnath stations in Northern Railway Train Cancelled, short terminated and Diverted From 07.12.2016 to 15.12.2016 (www.indiarailwayinfo.com)
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Other NewsNER/North Eastern  -  

News Entry# 288061   Blog Entry# 2084858     
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Dec 08 2016 (11:04PM)
Station Tag: Ghazipur City/GCT added by ovaisbsb/1077180

Dec 08 2016 (11:04PM)
Station Tag: Ballia/BUI added by ovaisbsb/1077180

Posted by: ovaisbsb  8 news posts
The Non interlocked working at Aunrihar-Rajwari-Kadipur Sarnath stations the following trains will be Cancelled, short terminated and Diverted as under
(A) Cancellation of Trains (From 07.12.2016 to 15.12.2016)
l. Train No. 55133/55134 Ballia-Varanasi City-Ballia Passanger
2. Train No. 55163/55164 Shahganj-Aurnihar-Shahganj Passanger.
3.
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Train No. 75103n5104 varanasi City-Phephna&Varanasi City DEMU
4. Train No. 75009 Mau-Varanasi City DEMU
(B) Short Termination (From 07.12.2016 to 15.12.2016
l. Train No. 75113/75114 Bhatni-Varanasi City DEMU will originate and terminate from Aunrihar instead of Varanasi City
2. Train No. 55149 Gorakhpur-Varanasi City passenger will terminate at Aunrihar instead ofVaranasi City
3.Train No. 55120 Varanasi City Gorakhpur passenger train will originate ex Amrihar instead of Varanasi City.
4, Train No. 55135/55136 Azamgarh-Varanasi City passenger train will originate and terminate at Aumrihar instead of Varanasi City
5. Train No H506715008 Lucknow Jn-Varanasi City Express. will originate and terminate at Mau
of Varanasi city
6. Train No. 75106/75105 Mau-Allahabad City DEMU will originate and terminate at instead of
Allahabad City Manduadih 7 Train No 55131/55132 hapra -Varanasi City passenger will originate and terminate at Aumihar instead of Varanasi city /
Diversion of Trains
1.Train No. 15017 LTT-Gorakhpur expresss leaving Lokmanya Tilak on 06.12.2016 will be
diverted to run via Allahabad prayag-zafrabad- Jaunpur-Aunrihar-Mau instead of its existing route
via Varanasi-Varanasi City-Aunrihar-mau.
2. Train No. 18201 Durg-Nautanwa Exp. leaving Durg on 08.12.2016 will be diverted to run
Varanasi-Jaunpur Aunrihar instead of existing route via Varanasi-Varanasi city-Aunrihar
3. Train No. 18202 Nautanwa Durg express leaving Nautanwa on 09.12.2016 will be diverted
run via Aunrihar Jaunpur Varanasi instead of its existing route via Aunrihar- Varanasi city
Varanasi.
4. Train No. 15017 LTT-GKP Exp. leaving LTT on 10.12.2016 will be diverted to run via
Allahabad Prayag -Zafrabad- Jaunpur Aunrihar Mauinstead of its existing route via Varanasi- Varanasi city -Aunrihar -Mau
5. Train No. 11061 LTT-DBGExp leaving LTT on 10.12.2016 will be diverted to run via
Allahabad -Zafrabad-Jaunpur-Aunrihar instead of existing route via Allahabad city-Varanasi -Aunrihar.
6. Train No. 14005 Sitamarhi-Anand Vihar Lichhvi Exp. leaving Sitamarhi on 11.12.2016 will
diverted to run via Mau-Shahganj-Zafrabad-Allahabad instead of existing route via Aunrihar-
Varansi- Allahabad city.
7 Train No. 15017 Lokmanya Tilak- Gorakhpur will be via Allahabad-Prayag-zafrabad-Jaumpur-Aumiha-Mau instead of its existing route via Varanasi-Varanasi city- Aumihar -Mau.
8. Train No. 14005 Sitamarhi- Vihar Lichhvi Exp. leaving Sitamarhi on l 4.12.2016 will diverted to run via Mau-Shahganj-Zafrabad-Allahabad instead of existing route via Aunrihar-Varansi-Allahabad city LTT on 13.12.2016 will be diverted to run via Allahabad-zafrabad-Jaunpur-Aumihar instead of existing route via Allahabad city- Varanasi- Aumrihar-
10. Train No. 15017 Lokmanya Tilak Gorakhpur coprcas caving am 13.12.2016 will be diverted
run via. Allahabad--Prayag-Zafrabad- Jaurmpur -Aumihar-Maun of its existing route via Varanasi-Varanasi city-Aumihar- Mau.



The Non interlocked working at Aunrihar-Rajwari-Kadipur Sarnath stations the following trains will be Cancelled, short terminated and Diverted as under
(A) Cancellation of Trains (From 07.12.2016 to 15.12.2016)
l. Train No. 55133/55134 Ballia-Varanasi City-Ballia Passanger
2. Train No. 55163/55164 Shahganj-Aurnihar-Shahganj Passanger.
3. Train No. 75103n5104 varanasi City-Phephna&Varanasi City DEMU
4. Train No. 75009 Mau-Varanasi City DEMU
(B) Short Termination (From 07.12.2016 to 15.12.2016
l. Train No. 75113/75114 Bhatni-Varanasi City DEMU will originate and terminate from Aunrihar instead of Varanasi City
2. Train No. 55149 Gorakhpur-Varanasi City passenger will terminate at Aunrihar instead ofVaranasi City
3.Train No. 55120 Varanasi City Gorakhpur passenger train will originate ex Amrihar instead of Varanasi City.
4, Train No. 55135/55136 Azamgarh-Varanasi City passenger train will originate and terminate at Aumrihar instead of Varanasi City
5. Train No H506715008 Lucknow Jn-Varanasi City Express. will originate and terminate at Mau
of Varanasi city
6. Train No. 75106/75105 Mau-Allahabad City DEMU will originate and terminate at instead of
Allahabad City Manduadih 7 Train No 55131/55132 hapra -Varanasi City passenger will originate and terminate at Aumihar instead of Varanasi city /
Diversion of Trains
1.Train No. 15017 LTT-Gorakhpur expresss leaving Lokmanya Tilak on 06.12.2016 will be
diverted to run via Allahabad prayag-zafrabad- Jaunpur-Aunrihar-Mau instead of its existing route
via Varanasi-Varanasi City-Aunrihar-mau.
2. Train No. 18201 Durg-Nautanwa Exp. leaving Durg on 08.12.2016 will be diverted to run
Varanasi-Jaunpur Aunrihar instead of existing route via Varanasi-Varanasi city-Aunrihar
3. Train No. 18202 Nautanwa Durg express leaving Nautanwa on 09.12.2016 will be diverted
run via Aunrihar Jaunpur Varanasi instead of its existing route via Aunrihar- Varanasi city
Varanasi.
4. Train No. 15017 LTT-GKP Exp. leaving LTT on 10.12.2016 will be diverted to run via
Allahabad Prayag -Zafrabad- Jaunpur Aunrihar Mauinstead of its existing route via Varanasi- Varanasi city -Aunrihar -Mau
5. Train No. 11061 LTT-DBGExp leaving LTT on 10.12.2016 will be diverted to run via
Allahabad -Zafrabad-Jaunpur-Aunrihar instead of existing route via Allahabad city-Varanasi -Aunrihar.
6. Train No. 14005 Sitamarhi-Anand Vihar Lichhvi Exp. leaving Sitamarhi on 11.12.2016 will
diverted to run via Mau-Shahganj-Zafrabad-Allahabad instead of existing route via Aunrihar-
Varansi- Allahabad city.
7 Train No. 15017 Lokmanya Tilak- Gorakhpur will be via Allahabad-Prayag-zafrabad-Jaumpur-Aumiha-Mau instead of its existing route via Varanasi-Varanasi city- Aumihar -Mau.
8. Train No. 14005 Sitamarhi- Vihar Lichhvi Exp. leaving Sitamarhi on l 4.12.2016 will diverted to run via Mau-Shahganj-Zafrabad-Allahabad instead of existing route via Aunrihar-Varansi-Allahabad city LTT on 13.12.2016 will be diverted to run via Allahabad-zafrabad-Jaunpur-Aumihar instead of existing route via Allahabad city- Varanasi- Aumrihar-
10. Train No. 15017 Lokmanya Tilak Gorakhpur coprcas caving am 13.12.2016 will be diverted
run via. Allahabad--Prayag-Zafrabad- Jaurmpur -Aumihar-Maun of its existing route via Varanasi-Varanasi city-Aumihar- Mau.

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Re# 2084858-3            Tags   Past Edits
january me
  
Yesterday (11:02PM)  Russian Delegation hold discussions on Secunderabad-Nagpur Semi-High Speed Rail Corridor (www.railnews.co.in)
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Other NewsSCR/South Central  -  

News Entry# 288060     
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Posted by: Record Breaking Year^~  69 news posts
Secunderabad: A 12-member delegation of experts from the Russian Railways held preliminary discussions with senior officers of the South Central Railway (SCR) led by Additional General Manager A.K. Gupta on the feasibility and implementation of the Semi-High Speed Rail Corridor between Secunderabad and Nagpur.
The discussions on Wednesday with the objective of conceptualisation of the project will be continued on Thursday ahead of a two-day field study when the visitors will be accompanied by SCR personnel from Secunderabad division too.
Currently, trains to New Delhi take between nine and a half hours to
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10 and a half hours to cover the distance of 587 km on the sector. While the Telangana Express leaves here at 6.25 a.m. and reaches Nagpur at 3.40 p.m. the same day, the overnight Dakshin Express leaves here at 10.30 p.m. and reaches Nagpur at 9.05 a.m. the next day. These superfast trains now run at 120 kilometres an hour and once the track strengthening is done, they can touch speeds of about 200 km an hour, an SCR officer said. The visiting delegation was led by the Head of Russian Railways Office in India Vladimir A. Finov and apart from Mr. Gupta, Divisional Manager-Secunderabad Ashesh Agrawal was present.
Discussions
A press release described the discussions were those carrying forward a Memorandum of Understanding signed between the Ministry of Railways in India and the Joint Stock Company ‘Russian Railways’ on technical co-operation in Railway sector last year and later the signing of a protocol in October, 2016 between the two entities on ‘Semi-High Speed Rail’.
Discussions were said to revolve around an analysis of the Secunderabad-Ballarshah section of the corridor that lies on SCR’s network. The Russian delegation sought to know the technicalities of the section and the Additional General Manager briefed them on the salient aspects of the line and highlighted the average traffic flow of passenger carrying and goods trains in the section.
The extensive dialogue included issues like the various components of rail infrastructure – civil engineering involving bridges, tracks and maintenance technology, signalling, rolling stock pertaining to locomotives, coaches and power for the like.
  
Yesterday (10:59PM)  Anubhuti Coaches yet to reach for Passenger Services over three and half years later (www.railnews.co.in)
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News Entry# 288059     
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Posted by: Record Breaking Year^~  69 news posts
Mumbai: The luxury ‘Anubhuti’ coach project, first announced by then Railway Minister PK Bansal in his February 26, 2013 railway budget under the UPA dispensation, is becoming a fine example of the railways’ ‘raat gayi, baat gayi’ approach every time ministers and governments change.
First touted as the ultimate in Indian Railway travel — hence the name Anubhuti or experience —this coach is yet to be built over three and half years later. Since the day Bansal announced it, not a single coach has been built for operations, a fact confirmed to DNA by the official spokespersons of Northern Railway, Rail Coach Factory-Kapurthala and the Integral Coach Factory-Chennai.
Aiming
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high with the Anubhuti coach, the railways had laid down its specifications on October 1, 2013 and one of the prime criteria that the railways laid down was that “the design made by the Consultancy Agency for passenger coaches should have been implemented and running in developed countries at least for two variants and 50 coaches.”
The railways even gave potential bidders a list of 42 developed countries led by Norway followed by Australia, New Zealand, United States, Ireland and rounded up by Barbados at number 42. Bansal, in interviews immediately after the budget in 2013, had said that the fares of the Anubhuti tier would be about one and a half times that of the First AC fare of Rajdhani and Shatabdi trains.
Earlier on June 6, 2013, a Production Planning and Review meeting held at the Railway Board decided, as per the minutes of the meeting, that the “Railway Coach Factory (RCF) Kapurthala will manufacture two Anubhuti coaches and supply 10 shells to Integral Coach Factory – Chennai and two shells to Northern Railway for Anubhuti coaches.”
On January 1, 2014, a letter written by the mechanical directorate of the railway ministry asked RCF-Kapurthala to allot one shell to Northern Railway which the latter would give to its Jagadhri Workshop in Haryana to convert into an Anubhuti coach. As it turns out, this too didn’t end up in anything substantial.
An RTI sent to ICF-Chennai revealed that the revised Coach Production Program, finalised on October 25 this year, has stated that for the current fiscal (2016-17) ICF would make 10 Anubhuti coaches for the current year at a cost of Rs 1.8 crore each. It would also make 8 shells for Anubhuti coaches at a cost of Rs 1 crore each. The total cost of the project would be Rs 26 crore.
However some of officials said they are keeping their fingers crossed. “All coach production units like the ICF, RCF and the Modern Coach Factory in Raebareli are working overtime to ensure more LHB coaches can be rolled out. In such a situation, the Anubhuti coaches might not come into operation this year as well,” one official said.
  
Yesterday (10:57PM)  Guwahati to get 12-km elevated Railway Corridor under Smart City allocations (www.railnews.co.in)
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Other NewsNFR/Northeast Frontier  -  

News Entry# 288058     
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Posted by: Record Breaking Year^~  69 news posts
Guwahati: The Centre has announced an investment of over Rs 5,000 crore to construct a 12-km-long elevated railway corridor inside Guwahati, contributing to the smart city project.
The Indian Railways will form a joint venture in the form of a special purpose vehicle with the state government to implement the project
According to Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu they are going to develop the Guwahati station with an elevated terminal. The entire corridor between Kamakhya and New Guwahati will be elevated. This will be a Rs 5,000-crore project
He
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further added that in the next 15 days, DPR will be prepared. The exact shareholding between the two partners will be known later.They will start the work in the next few months. There will be seven platforms in the 12 km stretch and the terminals will be developed for commercial purposes as well.
He also mentiond that.the three stations in Kamakhya, Guwahati and New Guwahati will be connected to metro line, which is coming up in the city. The entire project is meant to contribute to the smart city project,
There will be four elevated tracks with 12 level crossings and it will take just 15 minutes to cross the stretch, he added.
  
Yesterday (10:55PM)  Railways to promote Brand Image of Vizag Steel (www.railnews.co.in)
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Other NewsECoR/East Coast  -  

News Entry# 288057     
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Posted by: Record Breaking Year^~  69 news posts
Visakhapatnam: Steel is a key component for a country’s progress and Indian Railways being the most cost-effective medium to promote a product, Vizag Steel has chosen to promote its brand image through Samta Express, said Chaudhary Birender Singh, Union Minister of Steel while flagging off the train along with Suresh Prabhu, Union Minister of Railways.
Suresh Prabhu, Minister of Railways and Chaudhary Birender Singh, Minister of Steel together flagged off the daily Hazrat Nizamuddin – Visakhapatnam, Samta Express, now renamed as Vizag Steel Samta Express at Nizamuddin station in New Delhi today. The Vizag Steel Samta Express has been emblazoned with eye-catching Vizag Steel promotional visuals across its entire length.
Commending
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Vizag Steel for taking proactive steps to counter the downtrend in the prevailing scenario by effectively channelling its marketing efforts with a structured brand promotion activity, Birender Singh informed that undertaking such initiatives would not only help Vizag Steel extend its market reach to both urban and rural markets, but would also go a long way in increasing the nation’s per capita steel consumption from 61 kg to the global level of 208 kg, as envisaged by the Steel Ministry.
Vizag Steel is the brand name of the Public Sector Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Limited (RINL) with an annual capacity of 6.3 Million tonnes (Mt) of long steel products for consumption of the domestic market and is one of the leading domestic long steel producers, supplying wire-rods, re-bars, structural, squares, rounds etc. catering to construction, infrastructure sectors of the Indian Economy. VIZAG steel, known for its quality and operational efficiency, is the first integrated steel plant to be certified for Quality, Health, Safety and Environment.
Speaking on the occasion Shri Prabhu said that other Public Sector enterprises should also avail the benefits of promotion of their products through Indian Railways with a vast reach, unmatched to any other medium.
While welcoming the august gathering, P Madhusudan, CMD RINL said that Steel and Indian Railways have a symbiotic relationship. Steel Industry depends heavily on Railways for transportation of its raw material and finished steel products and in turn Steel Plants supplies steel materials for track, rolling stocks, bridges, stations etc. RINL is also in the process of taking up manufacture of import substitution products for Railways in line with government’s initiative of “Make in India”.
  
Yesterday (10:52PM)  On this man rests a rail system (www.google.co.in)
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News Entry# 288056     
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Posted by: Record Breaking Year^~  69 news posts
We have blind faith in them,” a track supervisor at the New Delhi Railway Station says, pointing towards a group of eight middle-aged men, wearing orange shirts, sitting by the tracks, smoking, chatting, during what looks like a break.
Groups like this, comprising around 2.2 lakh gangmen on the Railway’s payroll, are virtually the last line of defence against dangerous abnormalities found in tracks on which run close to 20,000 trains in India, day and night. Abnormalities that, if not detected, may cause derailments.
One such derailment on November 20 near Kanpur caused
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one of the worst rail accidents in the history of Indian Railways, with the toll 152 now. Derailments, data shows, make around 50 per cent of all train accidents in India.
There are laid-down procedures for periodic inspections by senior officers… but at the end of the day it is they (the gangmen) who have to spot faults and raise alarms in real time, all the time,” the supervisor says. “So faith is a must.”
On the world’s fourth largest rail network, this faith that a gangman — standing in the middle of nowhere, with no one watching over him — will diligently try to spot even the minutest crack in rails stands between safety and derailment for a train running at 100 km per hour.
“I walk 8 km a day, up and down along the tracks. Depending on the season, I start at around 6 am,” says Ramswaroop, 52, a ‘keyman’ — an elevated post for an experienced gangmen — posted in Delhi. Keymen like him, carrying spare nuts, detonators, wrenches and suchlike in a 20-kg bag, are lone rangers, meant to cover 6-8 km over eight hours, day or night.
He fixes faults such as a loose key that holds the rails to the sleeper, a missing fishplate (which joins two rails), or a missing nut. If he finds a fracture that can be dangerous, he has the authority to stop trains and raise an alert.
Like Ramswaroop’s tools though, the practice itself is 100 years old and more or less extinct in modern railway ecosystems.
***
Truth is, India’s transition to modern, safer and technology-aided, real-time flaw detection in its tracks running over 1.14 lakh kilometres has remained, at best, a half measure.
“We are switching to automatic fault-detection systems. To cover the entire length and breadth of the Railways will take time. But let me tell you, the existing system of manual detection has been working well,” says Aditya Kumar Mittal, Railway Board Member (Engineering), the top boss of all matters related to railway tracks in the country.
Once in a while, a machine is dusted and brought out from railway stores across India. In appearance, with probes and a graph monitor, it looks more like a medical equipment. Mounted on a trolley, when this machine is manually pushed on tracks by technicians on foot, the probes send ultrasonic frequency through the rails. Any disruption in the frequency sends the graph oscillating, revealing a fault not visible to the naked eye.
But even this slow — although reliable — ‘Ultrasonic Flaw Detection System (USFD)’ is based on a technology that is almost half-a-century old and is going out of vogue. At best, they test tracks at a rate of five kilometers a day.
Modern rail systems across the world instead carry out real-time track diagnostics through a vehicle-borne USFD — a faster and more efficient cousin whose minimum potential speed of testing is claimed to be 40 km per hour.
Besides the USFD, there are several modern track machines for routine maintenance, which goes on around the year. But given these limited options, gangmen remain vital.
***
In 2012, a High-Level Safety Review Committee under Anil Kakodkar took this and the exponential rise in train operations into account while recommending a complete ban on new trains in the choked network.
“During the last five years, addition of more than five hundred new trains, increasing the frequency of trains and adding more coaches per train has left the Indian Railways in a peculiar situation… Such a massive addition of passenger trains every year without serious thought, mainly on political consideration, has severe implications on safety preparedness of Railways. Further, neither any system or mechanism exists to evaluate safety risk…,” the report said.
While the Narendra Modi government, in a departure from populist measures by previous regimes, has restricted announcement of new passenger trains, the number of goods trains kept going up to increase business and earnings. So the stress on assets such as tracks has remained.
Railway officials admit that blocking traffic for routine maintenance of tracks and other open assets has become a growing challenge. Those tasked with maintenance say they are never given adequate number of blocks to carry out maintenance work faster.
“There are days when precious manhours and money are wasted as machines and hired labour are idle because of non-availability of blocks for adequate track maintenance,” says an officer from the Civil Engineering Department.
As per the Railways’ own internal estimates, around 4,500 km of track renewals should take place each year. However, in a white paper last year, it acknowledged that the pace gets affected due to paucity of funds, leading to a backlog of 5,300 km for renewal in 2014. Last year, only 2,400 km of tracks were renewed. The money allocated this year for the process is around 26 per cent less than last year.
Officers involved in operations of running trains, however, point out that the money meant for routine maintenance is always spent. This, they say, could not have happened without enough blocks being provided for the actual work to take place.
The Kakodkar committee report also made a note of this. “Today, Railways operates most of the corridors beyond 100% utilisation… and hence little maintenance time is provided. This brings out very clearly that there is no policy guidelines laid down… in terms of maintenance protocol, or if it exists, then Railways (is) clearly violating the prescribed norms, eventually leading to unsafe working,” it said.
Policymakers, though, point out that the question that remains is how much of maintenance time is enough in a railway system that aspires for on-time train operations with higher average speeds.
“By present count, around 6,000 hours of blocks are given across India every day. That’s a very high number considering the density of traffic,” says Mohammad Jamshed, Railway Board Member (Traffic). “In fact the working time tables of sections and divisions are created with blocks factored in every day.”
Routine maintenance of tracks includes greasing, correcting alignment, minor replacements, fixing sleepers etc. Besides, officials monitor and service overhead equipment and signalling systems.
When it comes to tracks developing fractures, the Railways adds, India is unique because of the wide variation in ambient temperatures. For example, in North India, tracks are exposed to temperatures up to 45 degrees Celsius in summers and even 1-2 degrees Celsius in winters. By standard laws of physics, the problem of expansion and contraction due to these temperatures causes tension and that creates cracks. This is the reason why South India, where such extreme variation in temperatures is missing, sees lesser rail fractures than North. Rails are laid keeping varied mean temperatures and variations in mind. But that’s not really foolproof.
The Railways procures all its rails from the state-owned SAIL, which goes by the specifications laid down by the transporter. So the Railways maintains its rails are world-class, if not better, even though they are not of the new-age “head hardened rails” being used globally but are of the conventional type. The hardened variety is sturdier and much more resistant to wear and tear but are not manufactured in India.
The permissible hydrogen content (an impurity) in Indian rail steel is 1.6 parts per million whereas the global level is 2.5. On papers, its fracture toughness is also considered on a par with global standards.
“There is nothing wrong with our rails. They are of global standards, if not better,” Mittal asserts.
However, the technology to assess the continuous wear and tear the rolling stock’s varying loads cause to the rails is still eluding Indian Railways, even though it is available globally.
***
Technological challenges aside, there are certain other bitter truths about the system the organisation will never officially accept.
For example, there is the age-old practice of informally engaging gangmen in household works of supervisors and officers.
The gangman population is also ageing. According to an internal assessment, most of the gangmen are above 45. Officers say the new generation coming in is mostly overqualified for the job, so they require much more counselling and supervision to attain the dedication to protocol and skillset traditionally associated with gangmen.
The minimum qualification for a gangman’s post is Class X pass or ITI or its equivalent, and the starting salary works out to be around Rs 15,000.
Within the system, there is also concern over hundreds of gangmen dying after being run over by trains. Several parliamentary committees and safety-related expert committees have raised concern over this.
***
Then there is the problem of financing, as money is required for assets renwal and maintenance. But in Railways, thanks to time-tested financial practices, the funding procedure is tricky.
Over the years, with surplus funds from revenues decreasing, the appropriation to the Depreciation Reserve Fund (DRF), the fund that contains the money for renewal of overaged assets, has been coming down.
In the last financial year, the budgeted amount for DRF was Rs 3,400 crore — a climbdown of around 40 per cent from the previous year. From Rs 7,775 crore in 2014-15, and around Rs 5,500 crore in 2015-16, the fund is on a constant decline.
Money as working expenditure is allocated for maintenance but that cannot be used for renewals. The machines for maintenance and diagnostics, on the other hand, are funded from the Rolling Stock Programme — where coaches, wagons and engines get priority.
The overarching narrative to any discussion on safety in the Railways, therefore, carries the usual refrain — “There is not enough money.”
The last infusion of funds from the government for railway safety works was Rs 17,000 crore during the NDA I government. This year, the Railways sought over Rs 1 lakh crore from the Finance Ministry for a special fund to be called Rashtriya Rail Sanrakshan Kosh or National Rail Protection Fund. The government is yet to warm up to the request, although there have been multiple meetings.
In the meantime, the government cleared certain amendments to the Finance Act in this year’s Budget session in Parliament to allow more money to the Railways from the Safety Fund built from diesel cess. It works out to a tune of Rs 10,000 crore. But as per the Road Safety Act, that money cannot be used for renovation and maintenance.
The Railways has argued that it will use part of that money to clear some of its backlog of track renewals because renewal is neither renovation/modification nor maintenance. The matter is expected to be sorted out during this Winter session in Parliament by giving the Railways the permission to spend it the way it has requested.
“The fact is, entire track renewal can never be done with the DRF money alone. Hence the attempt to augment sources of funds,” says Sanjoy Mookerjee, former financial commissioner, Railway Board.
Former railway minister and the Chairman of the Standing Committee on Railways, Dinesh Trivedi, has pulled up the Railways multiple times for appropriating less and less money in the DRF. “Look at their performance. They are not earning enough. At this rate, they will not be able to set aside money for even basic routine maintenance and renewal works, which ultimately affects safety,” Trivedi says.
However, there are some who believe that the demand for more money for maintenance and renewal is a hype created by those with the propensity to spend. “There are people who like the idea of spending because obviously they stand to gain. So they look for ways to spend with no thought of how to earn,” says Ajay Shukla, former member (Traffic), Railways.
Shukla argues that modern tracks are sturdy enough to not require renewal and maintenance as often as projected. “They are 60-kg rails built much better than they used to be years ago. Ninety per cent of accidents, including derailments, have happened on tracks which were not due for renewal,” he says.
The Railways also has unique inter-departmental issues like the fact that the Safety Directorate, whose job is to analyse data and maintain adherence to safety parameters, does not have access to the Track Management System, an online real-time platform that has all data on maintenance and renewal of engineering assets. This matter is under discussion at the highest level.
***
Around four years ago, the then member (Engineering) in Railway Board, Subodh Jain, had firmed up a unique proposal.
He wanted to create a three-member team of joint secretary-level officers and send them abroad to scout for the best track-management technologies in the West and bring back the knowhow. After moving around for months, the file was junked. The Railway Board decided that this was nothing but an excuse to go abroad.
Cut to 2016, the Railways is trying out a technology from South Africa called the Ultrasonic Broken Rail Detection System, in the Moradabad and Allahabad divisions. Incidentally, this was one of the technologies Jain had wanted to bring years ago.
This system, permanently fixed on tracks, keeps transmitting ultrasonic frequencies. If the frequency is broken, the system generates real-time alerts for officials. Officials say the trial results are encouraging.
Way back in 2007, the Railways’ own Research Design and Standards Organisation had tried to develop Wheel Impact Load Detection System with help from IIT Kanpur under Technology Mission for Rail Safety formed by the then minister Nitish Kumar. But the project had to be given up for want of proper progress and foolproof results. The research arm claims it is still in the process of developing it.
The vehicle-born UFSDs that modern Railway systems use cost approximately
Rs 10 crore each. There was a suggestion last year to hire the machines through service contracts, which could be paid from money meant for maintenance, without having to procure anything or touch either the DRF or the Rolling Stock Programme. There are also talks that ‘Make in India’ could bring down the costs.
Last heard, Northern Railway is in the process of getting itself one for trials.
***
The actual cause of the accident in Kanpur is yet to be determined. Internal assessments say it could be because the brake system of the train malfunctioned or because the track had a failure that went undetected. Or both. The official probe is on. In any case, the accident has again got the Railways talking about safety.
In the days after the accident, for instance, a feedback session of gangmen, where they spoke directly to the top bosses about ways to improve track safety, was organised.
Speed restrictions have now been imposed in the entire railway network so that lack of track safety, if any, cannot cause accidents. The age-old saying in Railways being “the safest train is the one that does not move”, the idea presumably is to run trains with maximum caution possible.
A move towards finding better rails for a better price is already on. Earlier this year, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu gave his approval to procure, through a global tender, around 20,000 million tonnes of ‘head hardened’ rails for the ghat sections and heavy-haul areas.
On rolling stock, the department has been asked to step up its production of the Link Hoffman Busch (LHB) coaches to phase out the conventional ICF coaches. The old coaches, according to Prabhu himself, lack “crash-worthy characteristics”.
But all these policy interventions together will take money and, more importantly, time — possibly decades, given the Railways’ past record. Member (Rolling Stock) Hemant Kumar, for instance, is candid about the fact that the ICF phaseout cannot happen overnight. “It will be a gradual process. Very difficult to specify a timeline. But we are obviously working on it,” he told The Sunday Express.
In the meantime, for the 23 million passengers on trains in India everyday, it again comes down to faith. Faith that the gangman is looking, so that they won’t end up as a statistic like the 152 people on board the Indore-Patna Express last Sunday.
  
Yesterday (8:54PM)  Dense fog hits rail, air traffic (timesofindia.indiatimes.com)
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Major Accidents/Disruptions

News Entry# 288050     
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Posted by: rdb*^  123711 news posts
LUCKNOW: Rail and air services continue to be affected due to dense fog. As many as six flights got cancelled and 35 were running late, while 18 trains arrived hours behind their schedule, on Monday.
Three domestic flights arriving to Lucknow and three long-distance flights for departure were cancelled due to adverse weather conditions.
Also, 15 flights departing from Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Bengaluru and Ahmedabad, and 20 flights arriving to Lucknow from Hyderabad, Chandigarh and Patna, Delhi and Mumbai, were delayed.
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fog hindered rail traffic movement. Jammu-Gorakhpur express was running late by 25 hours, Jan Sadharan Express and Marudhar Express by 15 hours, Vaishali Express by 13 hours and Gorakhdham Express by 12 hours.
  
Yesterday (8:53PM)  People pick rail route to break bigger notes (timesofindia.indiatimes.com)
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Commentary/Human Interest

News Entry# 288049     
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Posted by: rdb*^  123711 news posts
LUCKNOW: Passengers who wanted to buy tickets faced hardships when ticket vendors refused to accept Rs 2,000 notes at counters. Railways officials say people bought tickets to nearby cities in order to change the higher denomination currency.
People said the big notes were what they got at ATMs so they weren't left with much of a choice but to use them.
On Tuesday, when passengers for places like Mughalsarai, Varanasi, Kanpur and Allahabad wanted to buy tickets with their Rs 2,000 notes, vendors told them to offer smaller notes instead.
TOI
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found out that many people were indeed buying general tickets within Rs 100 so that they could get change for Rs 2,000.
"I came to buy a general ticket for Allahabad with Rs 2,000 because I haven't got smaller notes ever since demonetisation," said Raju Saxena.
Meanwhile, genuine travellers suffered. "I managed to get change by buying needless items for Rs 600, like automobile magazines and other accessories, from a vendor on platform in order to get change for a ticket," said Akhil Pratap who had come to buy ticket for Varanasi.
  
Yesterday (8:52PM)  No facility to buy rail ticket using debit card (timesofindia.indiatimes.com)
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Commentary/Human Interest

News Entry# 288048     
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Posted by: rdb*^  123711 news posts
LUCKNOW: Following demonitisation of Rs 500 and 1,000 notes and the subsequent cash crisis, Central government wants people to go cashless but ticket counters at the Charbagh railway station does not accepts debit card payment, forcing many passengers to pay cash or change/cancel their travel plans.Passenger who came with debit card to get rail tickets at Charbagh railway station failed to get their seat/berth booked as debit cards are not being accepted at the counters. Railway officials said they were planning to send a proposal to higher authorities to arrange machines to accept card payment at the counters. But till the facility is available, people will have to face the hardship.
In a reality check, TOI found people hoping to get tickets
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through debit at Charbagh station were disappointed. There are around 10 ticket reservation counters and only one counter is offering the service of electronic bill payment and that too only using credit card and for that too there were long queues, compelling many to go back and spend more on a flight.
The provision to use credit card was started for the convenience of tourists. However, authorities have not tied up with banks for acceptance of debit cards. Though a section of people book tickets using online mode of payment through website, majority, mostly middle and lower classes, prefer buying tickets from counter. Due to ongoing cash crisis, many are coming with debit cards for booking tickets, including platform tickets.
"I came to book tickets for entire family to attend a marriage in Hyderabad, but they are not accepting debit card," said Anas Khan.
"Since ATMs were empty and banks were closed for the holiday, I tried booking two tickets to Delhi using debit card, but they refused," said Achal Baghel.
Kunaal Abbas, who had come to book tickets for Mumbai, said that if they start using debit cards, most people who have bank accounts, can go for cashless transaction.
Chief public relations officer (CPRO) Neeraj Sharma said there are only 76 credit and debit card counters across the country provided by Indian railway, in which one counter for use of only credit card has been provided to Lucknow and railway is planning to increase the number of machines and ticket windows.
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