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Mar 26 2020 (22:04) Brilliant idea! Indian Railways to convert train coaches into quarantine facilities; details (

News Entry# 403760  Blog Entry# 4602695   
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The exact design is yet to be finalized, however, officials have been asked to take necessary steps to identify areas in their respective divisions where train coaches can be parked.
To help the state governments in containing the spread of novel coronavirus infection, Indian Railways is likely to transform its coaches into quarantine facilities. The national transporter is planning to turn the existing coaches into wards where those who need to be quarantined can be placed with medical facilities and food being provided to them within the coach. According to an IE report, under this plan, the trains would be transformed into holding centres for patients and paramedical staff who will be treating them. The exact design is yet to be
finalized, however, officials have been asked to take necessary steps to identify areas in their respective divisions where train coaches can be parked. They have also been asked to see that adequate arrangements are made to ensure electricity supply for a longer duration to these coaches.
A Western Railway official was quoted in the report saying that the zone has identified all locations in the division where a train coach can be charged to ensure uninterrupted source of power. Besides, a stock of all pantry cars are being converted into a mobile kitchen for providing food to those patients who will be quarantined. The officials said that while trains placed at railway stations like CSMT and Mumbai Central will have access to a base kitchen, train coaches placed at other odd locations will require pantry facilities.
Chairman of Railway Board, VK Yadav was quoted in the report saying that the board is speaking to health experts to understand what all is required, and also looking at all the pros and cons. Also to ensure that meal is provided to those kept in quarantine, the stock of pantry car is being checked.
As per a proposed design, an LHB coach with around nine lobbies (each lobby with six berths) can be utilized as one single unit to place an individual. In a similar way, in one coach, at least nine such compartments will be created to place a person under isolation who can be provided with medical supply and food. According to the report, with this at least 10,000 isolation wards will be created using 20,000 coaches. In order to facilitate the idea, the national transporter has also started movement of its rakes that were stuck in other zones of Indian Railways when the operations of passenger trains were stalled from midnight of March 22 (Janta Curfew day).
According to the report, as many as 637 rakes from various zones were stuck with 17 different zonal railways, which are now being returned to their home zones for maintenance. The Western Railways owns nearly 52 rakes in total, out of which 42 rakes were in different zones. Similarly, Central Railways has 175 rakes, out of which 56 were in different zones. Once these coaches return to their home zones, they will be disinfected and will be made ready for being used as quarantine facilities, the report added.
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Dec 02 2019 (21:57) Railways operating ratio in 2017-18 was 98.44%, worst in 10 years: CAG (

News Entry# 395940  Blog Entry# 4503636   
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NEW DELHI :The Railways recorded an operating ratio of 98.44% in 2017-18 which is the worst in the previous 10 years, the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has said in a report tabled in Parliament on Monday.
A measure of expenditure against revenue, the operating ratio shows how efficiently the railway is operating and how healthy its finances are. An operating ratio of 98.44% means that the Railways spent ₹98.44 to earn ₹100.
The national auditor in its report on the railways' finances, said that the railways would have ended up
with a negative balance of ₹5,676.29 crore instead of a surplus of ₹1,665.61 crore but for the advance received from NTPC and IRCON.
"The Indian Railways' operating ratio at 98.44% in 2017-18 was the worst in the last 10 years," the national auditor, Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG), said in a report tabled in Parliament on Monday.
"Exclusion of this advance would otherwise have increased the operating ratio to 102.66%," the auditor said.
The Railways has also been unable to meet its operational cost of passenger services and other coaching services. Almost 95 per cent of the profit from freight traffic was utilised to compensate for the loss on operation of passenger and other coaching services, it said.
The audit analysis of the finance accounts of Indian Railways revealed a declining trend of revenue surplus and the share of internal resources in capital expenditure. The net revenue surplus decreased by 66.10 per cent from ₹4,913.00 crore in 2016-17 to ₹1,665.61 crore in 2017-18.
The share of internal resources in total capital expenditure also decreased to 3.01% in 2017-18.
"This had resulted in greater dependence on Gross Budgetary Support and Extra Budgetary Resources," the CAG said.
The CAG also recommended that railways need to take steps to augment their internal revenues, so that dependence on gross and extra budgetary resources is contained.
"Under provisioning for depreciation is resulting in piling up of 'throw forward' of works concerning renewal of over aged assets. There is an urgent need to address this backlog and ensure timely replacement and renewal of old assets," it said.
It also advised the railways to avoid creating new funds without any "justifiable reason".
Nov 30 2019 (16:21) ICF team of Train18 comes under vigilance scanner (
IR Affairs

News Entry# 395825  Blog Entry# 4501578   
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The self-propelled train was built at a cost of ₹100 crore. 
Top officials of the Integral Coach Factory (ICF) here who were part of the team that built Train18, later flagged off as Vande Bharat Express by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, have been booked by the Vigilance Directorate of the Railway Board on charges of procedural flaws, railway sources said on Friday.
Vigilance officials served questionnaires on the former ICF officials — General Manager (retired) Sudhanshu Mani, Principal Chief Mechanical Engineers L.V. Trivedi and Shubhranshu, Chief Design Engineers (Electrical) D.P. Dash and
Vavre, Chief Design Engineer (Mechanical) Srinivas, and Kanwaljeet Asla, Financial Advisor and Chief Accounts Officer and others who are presently serving in other positions, the sources said.
These officials played a key role in developing the Train18 that was rolled out in a record 18-month time. The self-propelled train set, comprising 16 air-conditioned coaches, was built at a cost of ₹100 crore, about half the estimated cost of importing such a rake, with about 80% indigenous components in alignment with the Prime Minister’s call for ‘Make in India’.
While the train is operating without any glitch between New Delhi and Varanasi since February this year, issues over violation of certain procedures cropped up resulting the project getting shelved at theICF, the sources said.
Vigilance officials took away huge volumes of files pertaining to the making of Train18 a few months for investigation and top officials who were part of the ambitious project were transferred out. Tenders floated by ICF to build more rakes of Vande Bharat Express were cancelled. However, the Ministry of Railways made it clear that more Train18 type rakes will be available soon.
Railway Minister Piyush Goyal told the Lok Sabha a couple of days ago that the ICF would manufacture 740 coaches of Train18 in 2019-20, 2020-21 and 2021-22. On Friday, Mr. Goyal replying to a question said that there was no question of closing down the ICF. “We are very proud of the achievements of ICF. Their engineers and workers made Vande Bharat, the first semi-high speed train that India has ever made in its 168-year history. It is a jewel in the crown and there is every effort to grow, expand and modernise the company...”
Vigilance officials are now probing allegations that the tender for making the first Train18 set was awarded to a firm in violation of certain norms and also that the development team compromised on the safety of the train by not obtaining technical approval for the electrical systems from the Research Designs and Standards Organisation (RDSO), Lucknow. The RDSO is a standardisation organisation of the Indian Railways.
Amid reports that protocol issues between officers of the Mechanical and Engineering departments were the main reasons why the production of Train18 came to a grinding halt, the Ministry of Railways has constituted a committee of Additional Members of the Railway Board to sort out the differences between the two departments and bring about a working synergy. The findings and recommendations of the high-level committee were not made public, the sources added.
Nov 29 2019 (16:16) Over 1,200 Indian Railways stations to be modernised under Adarsh scheme, environment-friendly steps taken (
New Facilities/Technology

News Entry# 395754  Blog Entry# 4500549   
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As part of the modernisation process, as many as 1250 Indian Railways stations have been identified for development under the Adarsh Railway Station Development Scheme across all the states of the country.
Piyush Goyal-led Railway Ministry undertakes modernisation of Indian Railways infrastructure: As part of the Railway Board’s key mission of developing Indian Railways stations and upgrade the rail infrastructure, an investment of Rs 50 lakh crore has been estimated to be required for modernising the Indian Railways network. This amount of investment will be required for the development of the Indian Railways network between the years 2018-2030. Recently, in a written reply to a question in the Lok Sabha, Union Railway Minister Piyush Goyal informed that the investment in Indian
Railways is mobilised from a varied mix of sources including the budgetary and extra budgetary resources through institutional finance as well as the Public Private Partnership (PPP). Also, a part of the investment for the completion of railway tracks, rolling stock manufacturing as well as the delivery of passenger, freight services has been envisaged under PPP.
As part of the modernisation process, as many as 1250 Indian Railways stations have been identified for development under the Adarsh Railway Station Development Scheme across all the states of the country.
The steps which have been taken by the Railway Ministry in order to utilize various environmental friendly sources on the Indian Railways network are as follows:
Along with the environment-friendly measures, some of the steps taken by the Railway Ministry in order to avoid losses on the Indian Railways network are as follows:
Nov 29 2019 (16:13) Soon, Indian Railways to serve tea in eco-friendly kulhads at 25 more stations; details here (
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News Entry# 395753  Blog Entry# 4500544   
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The North Western Railway zone has directed its officers to implement measures for ensuring the use of green catering products at Indian Railways stations.
Soon, Indian Railways’ initiative of serving tea and other food items in environment-friendly materials like Kulhads would be introduced in more railway stations across the country. The North Western Railway zone has directed its officers to implement measures for ensuring the use of green catering products at Indian Railways stations. Thus, now 25 more railway stations would be serving tea and other food items in eco-friendly Kulhads and plates/bowls, according to a PTI report. These stations are Bikaner, Sirsa, Shri Ganganagar, Hisar, Churu, Suratgarh, Jodhpur, Bhiwani, Hanumangarh, Pali, Ajmer, Udaipur, Barmer, Nagpur, Luni, Jaipur, Jhunjhuna, Jaisalmer, Bhagat
Ki Kothi, Dausa, Gandhi Nagar, Durgapura, Sikar, Sirohi Road, and Abu Road stations.
On the request of Union MSME Minister Nitin Gadkari, Railway Minister Piyush Goyal has directed the Railway Board to issue directions for use of eco-friendly local products. Consequently, on September 9, the Railway Board directed all principal chief commercial managers of all the zones of Indian Railways and IRCTC CMD. The Railway Board advised the zonal railways and IRCTC to take necessary action in order to ensure the use of locally produced, eco-friendly terracotta products such as kulhads, plates, and glasses for serving catering items to railway passengers through all static catering units at the identified railway stations with immediate effect.
At present, Varanasi and Rae Bareli railway stations are already using terracotta products for catering. Now, the national transporter has decided to use them at as many as 400 railway stations across the country. A few months ago it was reported that to cater to increasing demand for kulhads, the Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) was directed to provide equipment for large-scale production of kulhads. KVIC had earlier stated that last year, it distributed a total of 10,000 electric wheels to potters for making kulhads and has set a target of distributing 25,000 electric wheels this year.
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