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    Home>  Railways>  Indian Railways News - July to December 2008    
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  Longer trains, shorter waits
  MUMBAI, December 28, 2008: In an attempt to find a solution to overcrowding on the city's suburban trains, Indian Railways is conducting trial runs of 15-coach rakes. The railways had last altered the suburban train length in 1986 when nine-coach rakes were first made 12 cars long. Two decades on, both 
Western and Central railways are getting new trains under the Mumbai Urban Transport Project (MUTP). The target is to get 129 new 12-coach trains by June 2010, and an equal number under MUTP-II  later. As of now, the Integral Coach Factory in Chennai has sent 34 new-generation 12-car trains to Mumbai. Another 50 are expected in 2009. 

  Railways profit would touch Rs one lakh crores 

  KHAJURAHO, December 26, 2008: Describing Indian Railways as the lifeline of the nation, Railway Minister, Lalu Prasad Yadav on Friday said that its profits during the current five-year plan were expected to touch Rs 1 lakh crores. Speaking at a function after showing the green flag for the Mahoba-Khajuraho train, he described the railways as the biggest zamindar of the country and said that the land owned by it was next only to that in the army's possession. 

  Gaya train robbery

  Gaya, Decembe 23, 2008: Passengers of the 5510 Buddha Purnima Express running between Sarnath and Rajgir were robbed this morning. Nearly 50 people travelling in the general coach of the unescorted train were robbed. Fifteen lost their mobile phones in what may be called an operation conducted in a leisurely pace between Aurangabad and Guraru stations of the grand chord section of the Indian Railways.
   According to eyewitness account, more than 12 men boarded the train at Aurangabad around 3 AM. The deputy superintendent of railway police Rajindra Singh, however, put the number at six. When one passenger tried to resist, the robbers fired from a country made pipe gun injuring businessman Ashok Kesri of Saharsa on the temple. Kesri was admitted to the Gaya Railway Hospital and is said to be out of danger. This is the second train robbery in the section within a week. Earlier, passengers of Palamau Express were looted near Guraru station. 
Source: The Telegraph

  Disaster management finally a priority for Railways 

  New Delhi, December 21, 2008 (PTI): The much-needed mechanism to handle disaster-like situations on the Indian Railways network swiftly and promptly and thereby limiting the casualty level will be shortly in place, officials in the Railway Ministry said. The move will not only see setting up of a disaster management 
institute for train staff but also strive for increasing the efficiency of the fleet involved in emergency operations, introducing self-propelled accident relief train and engaging senior officials in relief train movement, the officials told PTI. 
  Railways have seen no less than 3300 people losing their lives in train accidents during the last ten years and over 2500 cases of grievous injuries. The casualty list also includes railway staff. The disaster management institute, for which plans have been drawn for long, will impart training to railway employees on best international practices on disaster management. 

  Strengthening of Security on Indian Railways 

  RAJYA SABHA, December 19, 2008: Ministry of Railways is taking several steps to strengthen its security set up. An integrated Security System is being implemented over 
stations (including sub-urban stations) of Metro cities of Chennai, Delhi, Kolkata and Mumbai and other 140 vulnerable/sensitive stations of Indian Railways. This system comprises of the following broad areas:- 
1. Internet protocol based CCTV system with video analytics.
2. Access control. 
3. Personal and baggage screening system. 
4. Explosive detection and disposal system. 
On the recommendations of Norms Committee, which had been formed for fixing scales/norms for procurement of modern security related equipment, Ministry of Railways have allocated Rs. 60.76 crore for procurement of security equipment to be used by the Railways Protection Force(RPF).  - PIB

  Indian Rail Fin Corp to sell 15 billion rupees of bonds 
  MUMBAI, Decembe 18, 2008 (Reuters) - State-run Indian Railways Finance Corp (IRFC) will sell a 15-billion-rupee bond issue next week, two sources, including a company official, said on Thursday.
"IRFC has invited bids on Dec. 23 and the pay-in will be the next day," one market source said, adding that the bond would be sold through the book-building method.  The company will offer five and 10-year fixed and floating rate bonds, and 15-year fixed rate bonds, the sources said. 

  Railways mull Rs 30,000-cr spend to upgrade infra

  New Delhi, December 15, 2008: The Indian Railways has planned a Rs 30,000-crore infrastructure spend, which envisages upgrade and procurement of new assets of rolling stock during the current financial year. Focusing on the steel sector, the railways have set a target of rail renewal over 2,941 km, which will require 3,39,288mt of rail steel. A target of renewal of 44.5 lakh sleepers has been fixed, which requires 88,200mt of steel. In addition, 5,000mt steel is likely to be used towards the manufacture of steel channel sleepers during the current financial year. 
  Railway electrification target for the Eleventh Plan has been enhanced to 3,500Kms. Similarly, the electrification target for the current year has been increased from 700km to 1,000 km next year, electrification is likely to be undertaken over 1,200kms with Rs 1,000 crore, between Ghaziabad- Moradabad,  Shoranur-Mangalore and Gondia-Ballarshah. 
  “The high-density network of the railways in Mumbai is being strengthened for carrying heavier trains and the requirement of fund for these works in 2009-10 is Rs 500 crore,” the statement said. The railways is also setting up a Rs 5,352 crore 1,000mw thermal power plant through a joint venture with NTPC at Nabi Nagar, Bihar. Also, it is seeking allocation of a coal block of 300mt, which is proposed to be utilised for setting up a 2000mw power plant. 
Source: The Financial Express

   Indian Railways sign long-term coal transportation agreement

   New Delhi December 12, 2008: Aiming to beat the economic slowdown, the railway ministry today signed a long-term coal transportation agreement with GVK Power (Goindwal Sahib) Ltd, for transportation of coal for the 540-Mw power plant in Punjab. The railways will get a committed coal traffic of 2.528 million tonnes per year for a period of 25 years, according to the agreement, Railway Board Chairman KC Jena said. The agreement assures the supply of coal to the Rs 3,000-crore Goindwal Sahib power plant according to the monthly and annual scheduled quantity. The plant is slated to be commissioned in mid 2011. 
   Indian Railways will supply open-type wagons for handling this traffic. The monthly requirement of rakes is expected to be between 50 and 55 to transport coal from Tokisud coal mine in Jharkhand to the plant, a distance of about 1,600 km. Coal is the single largest commodity transported by the railways, accounting for over 42 per cent of its freight traffic.

  A revolving restaurant on railway tracks

  NAGPUR, November 23, 2008: Revolving restaurants are rare in India but the one which will come up at the turntable in the city at South East Central Railway's (SECR) narrow gauge railway museum at Motibagh on Kamptee Road.  Moreover, the coaches that are being renovated are from a nostalgic era, one from 1908 and the other from 1964. Both were built at the Motibagh workshop. The turntable was a device used at some railroad facilities to change the direction of locomotives around or onto one of several radially arranged rail tracks. After modernisation, the system has been phased out from the Indian Railways completely. 
  The unique project is part of the upgradation of narrow gauge (NG) museum which includes two furnished NG vestibule coaches stationed on the turntable. Food will be served from a cafeteria planned near the site, revealed K V Rao, additional divisional railway manager (ADRM) SECR, Nagpur.

  Kalka-Shimla rail line dedicated as World Heritage site 
  Shimla-Kalka, November 10, 2008 (PTI): Accepting inscription certificate from the UNESCO for Kalka-Shimla rail section, Minister of State for Railways R Velu and Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal on Sunday jointly dedicated the track as world heritage site to the nation. The century-old rail route was accorded the World Heritage status by the UNESCO in July this year. 
  Velu unveiled the inscription plaque at Kalka railway station today and a postal cover was also released on the occasion. The minister laid the foundation stone of a rail museum to be built in the memory of Baba Bhalku who guided the then British engineer to survey the rail route which became operational in 1903. The World Heritage status to the KSR and releasing of postal cover in this regard will give fillip to the tourism and the railways, Velu said. 
  The 96-km-long rail line passes through 102 tunnels, 988 bridges and 917 curves, many of them are as sharp as 48 degrees. The longest tunnel near Barog is 1143 metre. The four storey stone arch Gallery Bridge No 541 near Kanoh is an engineering marvel and a photographer's delight. Talking about other rail projects in the state, the minister said that Rs 700 crore has already been approved for the 33-km-long Chandigarh-Baddi rail line. 

 The 96-km-long Kalka- Shimla rail line passes through 102 tunnels, 988 bridges and 917 curves, many of them are as sharp as 48 degrees.

  Railways defer examinations 
  NEW DELHI, November 09, 2008: The Railways have put on hold their recruitment process across the country till after “normalisation of the situation,” as tension prevails in the wake of the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena’s attack on north Indian job aspirants in Mumbai last month. The Patna and Muzaffarpur railway recruitment boards deferred the examinations scheduled to be held in Patna centres on Friday (November 7). There 5,586 candidates were expected to take examinations to fill 113 vacancies in the grade of junior engineers, pharmacists and staff nurse. 
  The Ranchi board, covering Jharkhand and Orissa, also cancelled the examinations planned to be held in Ranchi, Jamshedpur, Bhubaneswar, Rourkela and Cuttack on Friday. As many as 93,682 candidates had applied for 263 posts of assistant station master.
  Pointing to the prevailing anger against what happened in Mumbai, Railway Minister Lalu Prasad feared retribution by locals, by halting trains and attacking job aspirants coming from Maharashtra. He said the examinations would not be held until the situation calmed down and proper security arrangement was made in all States. The Railways have written to all State governments to provide security to trains carrying candidates and at examination centres. Mr. Prasad said a re-examination for the candidates affected by MNS vandalism would be conducted in due course. It could be held in Maharashtra itself if the State government ensured safety of all the candidates.

  Disco train from Kolkata to Goa

  Kolkata, November 7, 2008: A train with a discotheque, cabin crew and live music will roll out from the city on January 2 for a 10-day trip to Goa and Mumbai. A city-based private travel operator is organising the trip in collaboration with Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation Limited (IRCTC). 
  The Rs 35,000 package per passenger will include journey in an air-conditioned three-tier coach, a three-night, four-day stay at beach resorts in Goa and a day in Mumbai. The 16-coach rake, booked by i-nova from Indian Railways, will take about 36 hours to reach Goa. “This is the first time a private operator has booked a train for retail tourism,” said Vivek Srivastav, the general manager (eastern zone) of IRCTC. “We will be responsible for the on-board services, including food, hospitality, housekeeping, public address system and security. A multi-cuisine menu will be served on board,” he added. 
  Passengers will stay in beach resorts in north Goa. “In Goa, beaches are the most attractive places. Beach volleyball, water sports and rain dance will be organised. The route has been planned in such a way that passengers can enjoy the natural beauty,” added Mukherjee.  The first Village on Wheel will set out from Howrah station for north India on November 15. It will return after seven days. Each passenger will be charged Rs 500 daily for food and sightseeing, said an official. 
Source: The Telegraph 

  Royal Rajasthan on Wheels to roll in January
  New Delhi November 05, 2008: Riding on the stupendous success of Palace on Wheels, one of  the top ten luxury trains in the world, Rajasthan will be launching a second super luxury train in January. The tourist train -- Royal Rajasthan on Wheels -- will be operated jointly by Rajasthan Tourism Development Corporation (RTDC) and Railways. 
  The train will be run from January 11.  The itinerary of the train is almost the same as Palace on Wheels except that it will go to Bikaner instead of Sawai Madhopur. The train starting from New Delhi will travel to Jaipur, Bikaner, Jaisalmer, Jodhpur, Udaipur, Chittorgarh, Bharatpur and Agra before coming back to the capital during its eight-day long journey. 
   This train is more luxurious than Palace on Wheels as it has facilities like spa, retro lounges, wi-fi connectivity and spacious super deluxe saloon. However, unlike Palace on Wheels, RTDC has to pay haulage charges about Rs 30 lakhs per trip to Railways as  per the new policy formulated by Railways for tourist trains. While Railways get 56 % of the revenue, Rajasthan's share is 44 % in Palace on Wheels. - PTI

Royal Rajasthan on Wheels   is more luxurious than Palace on Wheels as it has facilities like spa, retro lounges, wi-fi  and spacious super deluxe saloon.

  CNG will soon power Indian Railways 
  MUMBAI, November 4, 2008: Indian Railways has now started attempts to convert the conventional diesel engine into a dual fuel engine using Compressed Natural Gas (CNG). With consumption of two million 
kilolitres of diesel every year, Railways is banking heavily on the experiment with CNG, a proven pollution-free fuel. The Railways has already started using bio-diesel to cut down on the spiralling fuel bill. In fact, it has decided to set up four bio-diesel plants across the country on its surplus land to manufacture and supply bio-diesel to trains. Now, in its pursuit to control consumption of diesel, it is experimenting with CNG. 
CNG is used a fuel by trains in many countries, including the US, Japan and Malaysia. 
  Source: The Times of India

  Indian Bank inaugurates e-ticketing kiosk in Vijayawada 
 Vijayawada, November 1, 2008: Indian Bank’s Chairman and Managing Director M S Sundara Rajan on Friday inaugurated an e-ticketing kiosk at the railway station in Vijayawada.  Indian Railways has allowed the Indian Bank to install 34 ATM cum e-ticketing kiosks and 17 ATMs at railway stations across the country out of which the bank has already installed 27 ATM cum e-ticketing kiosks and 9 ATMs at various railway stations across the country, Rajan told reporters in Vijayawada. The remaining machines would be installed in the next two or three months, he said. Divisional Railway Manager, V Johari said that apart from Vijayawada, Indian Bank would install ATM cum e-ticketing kiosks at Rajahmundry and Naraspur. 
Source: The Financial Express

  Thousands take joyride in Kashmir's first train 
  Jammu, October 31, 2008 (PTI): Over 74,000 people took joy rides in less than three weeks after inauguration of the train service in Kashmir valley which has earned about Rs 7.5 lakhs for Indian Railways. "In just 19 days after inauguration of the train service in Kashmir valley on October 11, over 74,000 people took a joy ride in DMU in valley," a senior railway official said here. 
  "Not only this, railways have fetched Rs 7.5 Lakh from sale of tickets at several railway stations in Kashmir valley," he added. Most of the travellers boarded trains from Rajwansher to Anantnag railway stations — a distance of over 70 km. The encouraging response from the travellers has made railways speed up its effort to complete work in remaining rail section from Qazigund to Baramulla, the official said.


  Lalu Prasad threatens to cancel train operation after Maha killing
  New Delhi, October 29, 2008 (PTI): Against the backdrop of killing of a north Indian youth on a train in a Mumbai suburb, Railway Minister Lalu Prasad today threatened to suspend train movement in states where rail passengers and properties are repeatedly attacked.
  "Railways are becoming soft target in many states these days. If railway properties and passengers continued to be attacked we may think of cancelling train operations in those areas,"  Prasad told reporters here. The Minister, however, clarified that he did not mean any particular state.

   Indian Railways looks to bio-diesel 

   MUMBAI, October 24, 2008: In a bid to cut its mounting diesel bill, the Indian Railways has decided to set up four bio-diesel plants across the country with the help of private companies. It plans to mix 5% bio-diesel with the conventional diesel, aiming to increase the blend up to 20% in coming years. The railways, on an average, consumes 2 million kilolitre of diesel every year. Given the spiralling fuel rates globally, the bio-diesel 
effort can substantially reduce the railways' bill. 
   The railways has proposed to set up the bio-diesel plants at Tughlakhabad under Northern Railway, Raipur under South-East Central Railway, Itarsi in West-Central Railway and Erode under Southern Railway. For the uninitiated, bio-diesel is made out of seeds of Jatropha plant. Jatropha seeds are not rare as the plant grows very fast and do not even need much nurturing.

   Garib Rath between Secunderabad and Visakhapatnam

   HYDERABAD, October 23, 2008: The South Central Railway (SCR) will introduce Garib Rath between Secunderabad and Visakhapatnam from October 24. Garib Rath is fully air-conditioned trains introduced by the Indian Railways in 2005.
  The train provides fully air-conditioned rail travel at a cost of Rs 499. Minister of State for Railways R Velu will flag off the inaugural run of the train on Friday at Secunderabad railway station. The train will run thrice a week (Monday, Wednesday and Saturday) from Secunderabad and Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday from Visakhapatnam.

  Rajasthan to launch one more super luxury train 
  Jaipur, October 22, 2008: Rajasthan Tourism Development Corporation has teamed up with the country’s  Ministry of Railways to offer a new super-luxury train service to visitors. The train will be called the Royal Rajasthan on Wheels, and the service will be inaugurated in December. India’s popular train, the Palace on Wheels, is fully-booked into 2010. The new luxury train will feature carriages built in India, along with state-of- the-art facilities such as Internet access and a spa of international standards.
  The Royal Rajasthan on Wheels will comprise two super-deluxe suites, 13 deluxe saloons and two bar and eatery combinations known as ‘restrobars.’ Designed to be the ‘world’s most luxurious train,’ it will run on a route that incorporates the major attractions of interest in the state, and also Agra, so that its passengers will be able to visit the Taj Mahal.
  Every Sunday at 18.00, the train will depart New Delhi’s Safdarjung station, and return to Delhi on the morning of the following Sunday. The super-deluxe suite tariff will be US$2000 per person for each night of the 
journey, and deluxe saloon occupancy will cost US$800 per person per night. Included in the fare is an extensive sightseeing programme. Service will actually begin during the first week of January, and will operate a seven-night itinerary until season ends the first week of May.
Shri Lalu Prasad inaugurates International Seminar on Railways
   New Delhi, October 21, 2008: The Minister of Railways Shri Lalu Prasad said that Indian Railways is the lifeline of the nation and pointed out that it is, therefore, necessary to run fast moving trains in view of ever increasing passenger and freight traffic. 
   Addressing a gathering at the inauguration of an International Seminar on “Emerging Technologies & Strategies for Energy Management in Railways’ here today, Shri Lalu Prasad said that energy accounts for 25 
per cent of working expenses on the Indian Railways out of which 15 per cent is spent on diesel and 10 per cent on electricity.
   At present 28 per cent of route on Indian Railways is electrified which further needs to be expanded. He congratulated all electrical engineers for their contribution in containing prices of electricity for the last five years and improving bottom line of Railways to the extent of about Rs. 4000 crore per annum in gross profits of Railways. He said that EMUs and MEMUs which runs on electricity are becoming more and more popular among the people of both urban and non-urban and there is a need to run these trains on more routes. 
Source: PIB Press Release 

   Railways to redesign pantry car with modular facility 
  NEW DELHI, October 19, 2008: In a bid to provide quality food and improved hygienic conditions, Indian Railways is considering to redesign the pantry cars with modular facilities. “The proposed new designed modular pantry cars will be equipped with modern facilities for s torage, distribution service, cleaning and heat treatment to the food stock,” said a senior Railway Ministry official. 
Our aim is to completely do away with cooking system in trains. The entire cooking for passengers will be done in base kitchens across the country and pantry cars will be used for storage and distribution of cooked food only, the official said. 
  At present only empty space is given in a pantry car to set up a kitchen and prepare food. “It has been found that this makeshift arrangement is neither adequate nor conducive for preparing quality food. The prevailing 
cooking system in train is also becoming a safety hazard,” he said. So we are planning to redesign the pantry car which will help improving hygienic condition of food, he added. A professional agency will be hired to suggest the new design of pantry car equipped with modern facilities, said the official.
Source: Business Line 

   Railways step up bio-diesel plan, call tenders for setting up plants 
   New Delhi, October 16, 2008: The Indian railways, which has been testing the compatibility of bio-diesel in 
its locomotives for the last five years, has invited tenders for setting up of four bio-diesel esterification plants at an investment of Rs 78.5 crore to supply bio diesel to the railways.  Esterification is the chemical process of converting the oil extracted from oilseeds, or say jatropha, to bio- diesel compatible for use in diesel engines. 
The plants will come up at Tughlakabad, Raipur, Itarsi and Erode. However, the locations are tentative and may be changed on logistical considerations. 
   “We are targeting a capacity of 50,000 litres of bio diesel from each unit per day, totaling 2,00,000 litres a day. Initially we will blend five per cent bio-diesel with the high-speed diesel used in locomotives, and take it up to 20% in the future,” said Pradeep Kumar, chief administrative officer, Indian Railways Organisation for Alternative fuels. “We have been testing the blending process over the last five years in our locomotives. We have completed the tests and found that bio- diesel can be  blended with high-speed diesel (HSD) with least modifications in the engine,” added Kumar. 
   While the railways will provide land for the projects, the companies will have to meet the establishment as well as the operational cost and provide bio-diesel to the railways at a pre-determined and competitive price. The operational cost per plant per annum is Rs 60 crore. 
Source: The Financial Express

   Railways to organise study tours 

   New Delhi,October 13, 2008: The Delhi government will organise all outstation study tours for students through the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC). The Delhi government runs 900 schools in the city.
  IRCTC has already taken more than 100 schools for trips to places like Mount Abu, Udaipur, Jodhpur, Pushkar, Nainital, Mussorie and Dehradun after the circular was brought out in August. "We are also in touch with nearly 400 schools for organising trips," Shashank Shekhar, deputy general manager (tourism), IRCTC, said. The students would be taken free of charge. A fund of Rs 100,000 per year has been provided to the schools by the department for these outstation trips. - NDTV

First train in Kashmir valley flagged off
  Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh today flagged off the first train service in Kashmir valley. Initially, the train will run from Rajwansher in Budgam district to Anantnag, covering a distance of 66 kms.
 There will be an eight- coach DEMU rake in the train. The train, which is expected to cover the 66-km in about 1 hour and 35 minutes including stoppage time at various stations

  Manmohan Singh flags off first train in Kashmir Valley 
  Srinagar, October 11, 2008 (ANI): Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh today flagged off the first train service in Kashmir valley. Dr Singh, accompanied by UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, Railway Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav and Jammu and Kashmir Governor N N Vohra, flagged off the flower-decked train from Srinagar railway station at Nowgam.
  According to sources, the train, which was flagged off 10 years after the project was started by the then Prime Minister Inder Kumar Gujral, carried school children. Initially, the train will run from Rajwansher in Budgam district to Anantnag, covering a distance of 66 kms. The fare for the travel will be 15 rupees.The regular service of the train will commence from Sunday. There will be an eight-coach DEMU rake in the train.
  The train, which is expected to cover the 66-km in about 1 hour and 35 minutes including stoppage time at various stations, will be run twice a day from either side. The stoppages will be at Budgam, Srinagar, Pampore, Kakapora, Awantipora, Panjgam, Bijbehara, Rajwansher and Anantnag.
  The coaches will have a seating capacity for 90 passengers and the compartment  meant for physically challenged persons will have wider doors. In view of the climate of the valley, 1400 horse power diesel engine for the train has been provided with heating system for quick and trouble free starting in winters.
  The driver's cab has heating and defogging unit keeping in view the cold climate. Snow cutting type cattle guard is attached at the driver's end of the train for snow clearance from tracks during winter. (ANI)

  Steel prices to go up as Railways increases iron ore freight rates
  NEW DELHI, October 9, 2008: In a move that may increase input cost for steel cos like Tata Steel, Essar, Jindal and Ispat Industries, Indian Railways has decided to increase the freight rate of iron ore by around 5%. It has decided to re-classify iron ore (meant for domestic consumption) to a higher tariff class of 180 from existing classification of 170 thereby increasing its transportation charge by 5%. 
  The decision would push up freight rates by about Rs 100-200 per tonne depending on the distance. “The new rates would be levied from the next week,” an official in the Rail Bhawan said. In June this year, the Railways had shifted iron ore from class 180 to 170 to reduce the price of the commodity by 4-5%. The decision was taken to soothe the inflationary pressure. The move comes at a time when the country is having a high inflation rate.
  The price of the ore comprises between 30% to 45% (depending on the kind of iron and steel) of the total price of steel. Currently, the price of steel is around $750-900 per tonne in the global market. The government has been fighting inflation due to rise in prices of various raw materials, iron ore being one of them. The Railways transported 53.59 million tonne of iron ore for exports in 2007-08. 
Source: The Economic Times
Lalu Prasad asks for service tax exemption on food
  NEW DELHI, October 07, 2008(PTI): Railways Minister Lalu Prasad has sought service tax exemption on food from Finance Minister P Chidambaram to improve quality of food being served in the trains and encourage air passengers to travel by rail. Lalu's plea did evoke a response from Chidambaram, who quipped in lighter vein, "we will look into your demand in 2009-10 Budget". The regular Budget for the 2009-10 will be presented by the new government after the general elections.
  Lalu, who became the first minister to win the Inspiring Leader of the Year Award last evening for turning around the Indian Railways, also promised to improve sanitation within trains and platform in the next three years. Sitting next to Mukesh Ambani and Sunil Mittal, in an evening for corporate honchos, Lalu showed no lack of business acumen. Lalu asked for exemption of sales tax on food as he took the competition to the skies in order to lure air travellers.
  Earlier, he reminded Chidambaram of how the railways has been stuffing the coffers of the finance ministry. Chidambaram expressed his concern over the state of toilets in Indian trains. "The best thing to do is to find a permanent solution to the toilets in Indian railways...the biggest contribution you can make is to get rid of this massive pollution," he said. Lalu replied, "We are already on our way. Within three years, the face of the Indian railways would change as proper disposal of human waste would be taken care of. Not a single drop of human waste will fall on the platform."  -PTI

  Railways seeks DDA nod for Rs 6K-crore New Delhi station plan

  New Delhi, October 5, 208 (PTI): Indian Railways has sought approval of the Delhi Development Authority for its ambitious Rs 6,000-crore world-class New Delhi station project. The DDA approval is crucial for developing 86 hectares of land and for determining the height and the built-up area of the New Delhi railway station as a world-class station, a senior Railways Ministry official said.
  The world-class railway station project is to be executed with public private partnership by leveraging the real estate development potential in the air space above the station and on rail land around the station. As per the plan there will be retail outlets, restaurants, currency, exchange counters, cyber cafes, banking with ATM facilities and car rentals at the proposed New Delhi railway station. PTI

  Railway upgrades enquiry number ahead of Pujas

  BHUBANESWAR, October 4, 2008: The East Coast Railway today urged passengers to avail of the modern and upgraded enquiry system of Indian Railways by dialing only “139” from any landline/mobile from 
anywhere in the country. 
  In view of the puja rush and the number of incoming calls to railway inquiry , the railways requests passengers to avail the 139 call service, said a release issued here. The services offered by 139 include PNR status, updated running train position, accommodation availability and train fare enquiry. Ticket booking over phone is also being introduced through this number stated the release. The East Coast Railway informed that it has decided to add one extra sleeper class coach to the Bhubaneswar~Raipur Express in view of the festive season rush. 
Source: The Statesman

  Luxury train for northern India 

  NEW DELHI, Oct. 03, 2008: To promote luxury tourism in northern India, the Ministry of Tourism has joined hands with Indian Railways and Punjab government to launch a “Palace on Wheels” tourist train .    With an assistance of Rs. 7.25 crore from the Ministry , the train will cover popular destinations like Amritsar, Dharamshala, Anandpur Sahib, Patiala, Kurukshetra, Jaipur, Agra and Delhi in a week-long itinerary. The train is likely to take two years to take to the tracks. 
  A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed here on Wednesday between the Railways and Punjab government in the presence of Railway Minister Lalu Prasad, Tourism Minister Ambika Soni and Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal. 
Source: The Hindu
Solar, wind energy to light up railway premises
   New Delhi October 01, 2008: Aiming at reduction of carbon emission by using clean energy, Indian Railways has embarked upon a renewable energy action plan as part of the national policy to address the impact of climate change. 
  According to the action plan, all zonal railway offices, divisional headquarters and Railways Ministry headquarters will now have solar power systems to light up the premises. "The lights at the corridors and control rooms of these offices will draw power from solar panel," a senior Railway Ministry official said. Solar panels will be installed at 44 divisional railway manager offices, he said. 
  Railways is also installing a 10-Mw wind-power project near Kanyakumari at an estimated cost of Rs 60 crores. An average wind speed of 14 miles per hour is required to convert wind energy into electricity. One wind turbine can produce enough electricity to power up to 300 homes. According to the Kyoto protocol, all governments are required to initiate concrete action to reduce carbon emission to save the climate. 
  The national action plan on climate change also focuses on renewable energy to mitigate global warming and reduce greenhouse gas emission. Railways, which consumes about 2,500 Mw electricity per day, 
spends about Rs 5,500 crores annually for electricity. It has earmarked Rs 28 crores for the solar project, which aims at generating 440 kw per day.
Source: Press Trust Of India 
Lalu Prasad Yadav has flagged off another Garib Raths
  Patna, September 30, 2008: Railway Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav has flagged off another of his Garib Raths – the fourth from Bihar – on Monday. But his detractors are saying that with Lok Sabha elections round the corner, Lalu has to fight with whatever he has.
   Christened Jaynagar-Hazrat Nizamuddin Garib Rath, it will connect the state’s migrant labourers with New Delhi. Earlier, he linked Saharsa with Amritsar, one of the biggest employers of such labourers. The AC Garib Rath is meant for the poor. However, a ride on the Jaynagar-Hazrat Nizamuddin Garib Rath will cost Rs 643, while a non-AC class ticket costs around Rs 250. Lalu’s claims aside, the Garib Rath’s clientele is likely to be largely from the seven lakh middle class passengers who travel by sleeper class every day.
   “It is preposterous to think that the poor, who can hardly afford to make both ends meet, will even think of travelling in AC coaches. But then, it’s an idea, which need not be taken literally,” said a senior railway official on condition of anonymity.
   But Lalu cannot stop at flagging off only one Rath. He inaugurated a 68-km broad gauge line between Sitamarhi and Darbhanga and announced at Sitamarhi that the railways would provide a direct train to New Delhi in 15 days. He also flagged off two passenger trains between Sitamarhi and Darbhanga. All in one day.
Source: Hindustan Times
Country's biggest rail museum to come up at Lonavala
  Lonavala (Maharashtra), September 27, 2008 (PTI):  A 17-acre plot of land, now housing some residential homes and a few abandoned buildings, will soon make way for the biggest rail museum in the country which will display the historical significance and evolution of over 150-year-old Railways. The Indian Railways is planning to build its largest Regional Rail Museum in the cool climes of the Lonavala hill station, about 120 km from Mumbai, and expects it to be ready in the next two years, a senior official said.
  "A budgetary allocation of Rs 11.60 crore has been made for the work in this year's Rail Budget. Besides being the first-of-its kind in the Western region, the rail museum will be among the largest in the world," Rajesh Agrawal, Executive Director (Heritage), Ministry of Railways, said. The proposed museum will be bigger than Delhi-based National Rail Museum which is spread over 13 acres, he said.

  Railways to levy surcharge of 5-7% on all items
  NEW DELHI, September 26, 2008: Indian industry, battling inflation over the last few months, will have to contend with more bad news. The railways have decided to levy a busy season surcharge of 5-7% on transportation of all products, which would further push up costs. According to senior railway officials, the move to levy the busy season surcharge on goods carriage is a yearly exercise. The charge would be levied for a few months. 
  While a surcharge of 5% would be levied on transportation of coal, other products would be charged 7%. In June, the railways had also levied 5% cess on transportation of all commodities. This charge was, however, applicable for only three months. 
  However, throughout the first half of the fiscal, the railways have offered many rebates to its customers in the form of various discounts. Last week, the railways decided to offer 5-6% freight rebate on caustic soda, caustic soda liquor and alumina. The discounts would be applicable to privately-owned wagons only. 
  Source: The Economic Times

  Cleartrip with IRCTC to launch of online train bookings.

  September 25, 2008: Cleartrip, in partnership with IRCTC, announced the launch of online train bookings. With over 17 million passengers travelling daily by train, Cleartrip becomes India’s first online travel agency to tap this burgeoning market by enabling customers to book their train tickets online. 
  Cleartrip has created the easiest and fastest method for customers to purchase railway tickets online. Instead of having to check aspects of the booking separately, a single search provides users with train fares, schedules and availability simultaneously. Cleartrip lets users select the stations most 
convenient to them by offering multiple stations from a city instead of forcing users to specify a station and also allows the comparison of fares from multiple stations. In addition, users can instantly review fares from multiple classes such as AC 2-Tier and AC 3-Tier, letting them upgrade to a higher class of 
travel if they choose. Detailed information is provided for each train including arrival and departure times, number of stops and the train’s route with all stops. 
  In addition, a wide variety of payment options are supported, including credit cards, debit cards and net-banking, so virtually anyone can use this medium. All railway bookings made on Cleartrip are permanently stored in each user’s account, Users can also cancel their bookings online at any time. 
   The government-owned Indian Railways boasts one of the largest and most trafficked railroad networks in the world—over 18,000 trains operate daily, plying across over 60,000 kilometres of railroad tracks and over 6,800 railway stations.
Source: The Financial Express
  Railways to expand telemedicine network in all zonal railways
NEW DELHI, September 23, 2008 (PTI): Taking medical facilities to far-flung areas, the Indian 
Railways have decided to expand their telemedicine network across the country. "Currently available in 18 places including Rangia, Badarpur, Guwahati, Sonpur, Ratlam, Bhavnagar, Ahmedabad, Mumbai, Chennai, Vadodara and Rajkot, the telemedicine facility will soon be accessible in about 20 more places in Maharashtra, Jharkhand, Orissa, Karnataka and Goa" said a senior railway official.
  Implemented by Konkan Railway, telemedicine project is the use of electronic communication and information technologies to provide health care when distance separates medical specialists from the 
patient. It also includes educational use of these technologies such as distance learning of health subjects. "One can examine, diagnose, seek specialist opinion, treat and cure the patient effectively through telemedicine system," said a Konkan
NEW DELHI, September 23, 2008 (PTI): Taking medical facilities to far-flung areas, the Indian 
Railways have decided to expand their telemedicine network across the country. "Currently available in 18 places including Rangia, Badarpur, Guwahati, Sonpur, Ratlam, Bhavnagar, Ahmedabad, Mumbai, Chennai, Vadodara and Rajkot, the telemedicine facility will soon be accessible in about 20 more places in Maharashtra, Jharkhand, Orissa, Karnataka and Goa" said a senior railway official.
  Implemented by Konkan Railway, telemedicine project is the use of electronic communication and information technologies to provide health care when distance separates medical specialists from the 
patient. It also includes educational use of these technologies such as distance learning of health subjects. "One can examine, diagnose, seek specialist opinion, treat and cure the patient effectively through telemedicine system," said a Konkan

   The construction of Dahej-Bharuch broad gauge expected to begin soon

   Vadodara, September 22, 2008: The construction of Dahej-Bharuch broad gauge by the Indian Railways is expected to begin next fortnight. The conversion, from the narrow gauge railway line, is being done on 
Private-Public Participation model with the help of Special Purpose Vehicles dedicated to cater to railway freight traffic from the proposed Dahej Special Economic Zone (SEZ). 
   The major private shareholder in this project is RVNL with Rs 25 crore in investment which forms about 29.5 per cent of the total investments. Other private players include Dahej SEZ, Adani Energy, Gujarat Narmada Valley Fertilisers Corporation Limited (GNVL), Birlas, Jindal and Hindalco industries. 
Rail passengers may soon use laptops in trains 
  NEW DELHI, September 19, 2008: Passengers will soon be able to use their laptops in running trains as Indian Railways is mulling over a proposal to provide satellite-based internet facility in premier trains. A trial run is already underway in Mumbai- Ahmedabad Shatabdi Express and our aim is to provide the internet facility in certain premium trains including Rajdhani and Shatabdi, said a senior Railways ministry official.
  Besides internet, a plan is also afoot to introduce onboard audio and video entertainment system for passengers during the train journey. "Efforts are on to provide DTH services to onboard passengers and trials for this are under way," said the official. Termed as value addition to passenger amenities, railways is keen to establish High Speed Internet Corridor along all routes to provide  internet, IPTV and other entertainment and utility services in trains. All these steps are being undertaken to provide better facilities to railway passengers, said the official. - PTI
Indian Railway assures assistance to Tanzian Railways 
   September 15, 2008: The Minister of Railways Shri Lalu Prasad said that Indian Railways will extend all necessary assistance in the operation and management of Railways in Tanzania. This assurance came when the visiting Tanzanian delegation led by its Minister of Infrastructure development Dr. Shukuru J. Kawambwa met Shri Lalu Prasad here today. Present on the occasion from Indian side were, Chairman, Railway Board, Shri K.C.Jena, Member Mechincal, Shro R.K.Rao, Managing Director, RITES, Shri V.K. Agarwal and Joint Secretary (East & South Africa), Ministry of External Affairs, Shri Ashok Tomar.
Shri Lalu Prasad said that the request of the Government of Tanzania for providing the Indian line of credit on soft terms amounting to US $ 83 million will be considered positively to make Tanzanian Railways a 
viable entity in long term.- PIB

   Railways gear up to transport coal in Mozambique

   NEW DELHI, September 14, 2008: Railways for the first time will be extending its expertise in coal transportation in foreign shores. RICON, a joint venture by IRCON and RITES, has been given a 25 year concession to rehabilitate, operate and upgrade 850 km long rail line in Central Mozambique including Beira Port to carry 12 million tons of coal annually at an estimated cost of about USD 440 million.
   IRCON and RITES are two leading PSUs of Indian Railways. While the upgradation of the rail line, required to sustain the coal movement, is to cost about USD 260 million, while the rehabilitation and operation of the line will cost USD 180 million. 
Source: The Economic Times

   Indian Railways  seek innovative ideas from public to improve services 

   Delhi, September 12, 2008: The Indian Railways has set up an innovation promotion group (IPG) looking forward to make a coordinated effort to face challenges in its stride and incorporate new techniques and views in its working. The group will be a platform for the railway employees, industry and international organisations to interact with the railways and give suggestions to it. 
  “The group is open to all. The ideas or suggestion of any person, organisation or institution, which are for the betterment of the organisation, are most welcome,” said RK Bhatnagar, coordinator, IPG. The group will interact with national and international railway organisations, industries universities, railway men, customers and citizens to promote innovations. It will target improvement in system efficiency and productivity of resources along with enhancement of throughput capacity of the existing system. 
Source: The Financial Express

   Railways to invest Rs 2,000 cr for new coaches, wagons

   New Delhi September 11, 2008 (PTI): Indian railways plans to invest Rs 2,000 crore annually to increase its consumption of stainless steel to two lakhs tonnes a year and get new coaches and wagons made up of the alloy. 
  "It was decided in a meeting few months ago that we will increase our consumption of stainless steel to two lakh tonnes per annum which will entail an investment of Rs 2,000 crore every year," Railway Ministry Additional Member (Mechanical) Pramod Kumar Gupta told PTI. 

India’s first ‘bullet’ train not before 2015
  NEW DELHI, September 7, 2008: In the first step towards running high-speed  passenger trains at 300-350 kmph, the ministry of railways has floated a global tender for conducting a pre-feasibility study for 
constructing two corridors at the Delhi-Chandigarh-Amritsar and Pune-Mumbai-Ahmedabad sections of Indian Railways. However, experts in the ministry told The Statesman that even if all goes according 
to plan and there was no change of mind within the political establishment about the ambitious project, the first high-speed train running at 300-350 kmph is unlikely to be launched before 2015. 
Source: The Statesman

Railway stations to have new design GPS-based digital clocks 
  New Delhi, September 07, 2008: Indian Railways will install GPS-based digital clocks at all railway stations across the country for uniformity in timing. Apart from synchronising the time up to the second, the 
time-piece will have the same size and design all over the country, a senior Railways Ministry official said. 
Currently, there is no uniformity in the timing with clocks reading different time from one platform to 
another at the same railway station. 
  "The lack of uniformity in timing has caused a problem for us. So we have decided to install GPS-based digital clocks at all platforms to have uniformity in timing," the official said. To improve its visibility, the new GPS-based clocks will be equipped with Light Emitting Diodes (LED). 
  There are about 7,300 stations in the country and each station has more than two platforms. The new-look clock with LED will cost about Rs 20,000 per piece, said the official. Railways has recently successfully completed trials of the GPS-based rolling stock tracking system called SIMRAN (Satellite Imaging for Rail Navigation). At present, railways is using the GPS for tracking trains for its location, speed, and direction of 
movement. - Zee News

  New Delhi Railway Station to be closed partially for 10 days 

  New Delhi, September 04, 2008: Starting on Friday night, one of the country’s busiest railway stations will wear a deserted look for 10 days. At the New Delhi Railway Station, the stalls at the platforms will remain shut, beggars will vanish and the congested parking lots will be empty. In Indian Railways’ biggest such exercise till date, a new automatic signalling system will be installed at the station. Four new platforms will also be added, doubling the station’s efficiency.
  The signalling system — Route Relay Interlocking — handles the continuous tasks of platform allocation, arrivals, departures, and other use of infrastructure automatically. The system will handle 1278 routes, nearly double the present capacity.  It is to migrate to this upgraded system that Northern Railways has cancelled 62 mail/express trains and diverted 50 while terminating 126 trains short of New Delhi over the next 10 days. Over 60 local trains have also been cancelled. 
Source: Hindustan Times

  Railways take fresh relief measures for flood affected victims in Bihar 

  September 03, 2008: Railways have taken several important measures for relief to the flood affected people of northern Bihar. Some more fresh measures taken were announced by Minister of Railways Shri Lalu Prasad her today.
  Relief materials for flood affected areas in Bihar are being transported by Railways. Two rakes loaded with fodder have already been transported to the flood affect areas and third and fourth rakes will be loaded with fodder soon. To arrange drinking water for flood victims, Railways have arranged two rakes loaded with water tankers available at Barauni and Danappur stations and will be immediately transported to the flood affected areas as and when instructed. 
  Railways are running special trains to evacuate flood victims to safer places free of charge. Till now 3 lakh 
65 thousand flood victims have been evacuated to safer places by 180 trains and around 40 to 50 thousand people are being evacuated to safer places on everyday. Relief camps to distribute free food and medicine to flood victims, have been set up at Raghopur, Bannakhi, Supaul, Saharasa, Baijnathpur, Purnea, Jogbani bathnaha, Farbisgunj, Sinraha, Araria, Patna and Rajendernagar stations with the help of the prize money of Rs one crore won by Shri Lalu Prasad in a TV show. - PIB

  Pay panel bonanza to cost Indian Railways Rs 6,500 cr

  New Delhi, Aug 31, 2008 (PTI): The Sixth-Pay Commission report which has come as a pre-Diwali gift for the 14 lakh workers in Indian Railways, will cost their employer about Rs 6,500 crore in the current fiscal. While Rs 5,000 crore has already been earmarked in the current Railway Budget, "We have to make provision for an additional Rs 1,500 crore to meet the requirement," a senior Railway Ministry official said. 
  To offset the additional financial burden arising from the pay panel report, the Railways will have to increase its revenue earnings and undertake cost control measures. "All general managers of Zonal Railways have been instructed to initiate cost control measures in their respective zones. They have also been asked to take steps to increase earnings," the official said.
   According to the arrear payment plan, Railways would make 40 per cent of arrear payment in the current financial year.  "Rest would be paid in the next fiscal," he said.  The government on Friday finalised the notification on the pay panel report. It would cost the exchequer Rs 22,000 crore this year. It is expected that each Railway employee will take home an average of 21 per cent higher salary next month.

  Rail Hostesses to serve train passengers

  NEW DELHI, August 26, 2008:  From September as part of the Indian Railways' initiative to give train passengers a feel of air travel in select. The train hostesses will be smartly attired in blue trousers, white shirts, and blazers. Not only this, you can even continue surfing the Internet and catch your favourite 
television programme while munching on savoury snacks. 
  According to the plan, which has been given its final shape by the Indian Railways, 2 AC coaches with additional services will be added to trains on certain routes. The services will be available in Kanchan Kanya Express and North Bengal Express from September 26, followed by a few other trains that include  Delhi- Sealdah Samparkranti and Guwahati-Delhi Samparkranti. 
  First of its kind in the Indian Railways, the arrangement comes as a result of Public Private Partnership (PPP). "It is a pilot project. If successful, we hope to extend this facility to other trains on other routes as well. The idea is to offer maximum comfort to the traveller. It will be an added incentive for the modern-day 
travellers who want to enjoy all the frills," said a senior Indian Railways official. 
Source: The Times of India

  Railway revenue earnings up by 19.46%

  New Delhi, August 20, 2008: The total approximate earnings of Indian Railways on originating basis during the period 1st August – 10th August 2008 were Rs. 1988.67 crore compared to Rs. 1664.75 crore during the same period last year, registering an increase of 19.46 per cent. 
  The total goods earnings have gone up from Rs. 1131.93 crore during 1st August to 10th August 2007 to Rs. 1332.04 crore during 1st August to 10th August 2008, showing an increase of 17.68 per cent. The total 
passenger revenue earnings during the period 1st to 10th August 2008 were Rs. 592.76 crore compared to Rs. 473.79 crore during the same period last year, reflecting an increase of 25.11 per cent. The revenue earnings from other coaching amounted to Rs. 48.24 crore during this period compared to Rs.47.31 crore during the same period last year, showing an increase of 1.97 per cent.- PIB

   Sky Bus project on track, says railways

   MARGAO, August 16, 2008: A global expression of interest for commercial and technical  feasibility of the prestigious Sky Bus project would be floated in another two months, Railway Board chairman K C Jena said here on August 16. The partners, which could be an Indian firm as well, would ensure the technology of the project is put on track and its commercial use fostered for public transportation. The financial gains would be 
shared with the firm chosen to partner the Sky Bus mode of transport. 
   Konkan Railway Corporation MD Anurag Mishra said that to bring together all forms of urban transportation systems like metro, monorail and Sky Bus, a comprehensive legislation assigning the job of certifying the proven technology would be tabled in Parliament. Jena said the Central government is in favour of having high-speed bullet train corridors in the country. Five corridors have been mooted so far wherein the states are joint partners in the feasibility study along with Indian railways. 
Source: The Times of India
  Indian Railways seek innovative ideas from public 
  NEW DELHI, August 14, 2008: Indian Railways will tap innovative ideas from the people to achieve higher customer satisfaction and provide value-added services. An Innovation Promotion Group (IPG) is being set up to seek innovative ideas from the public including reputed institutions, universities and industries to improve services and productivity, a senior Railways Ministry official said. 
The  Innovation Promotion Group will comprise nine senior railway officials dealing with various departments including traffic, finance, telecom, civil and electrical. The multi-departmental IPG will also interact with national and international railway organizations, railway customers and railway men to promote innovations for improvement in productivity of resources. 

  Railways to set up centralized traffic control at Tundla

  New Delhi August 12, 2008: In a first of its kind on Indian Railways, a centralised traffic control (CTC) with electronic interlocking and automatic signalling system is being set up on the Ghaziabad-Kanpur section enhancing the line capacity and safety in train operation. Ghaziabad-Kanpur is one of the busiest sections of Indian Railways with over 200 trains using this 410 km long electrified route in a day. All signalling and telecom gears in the section have outlived their utility and are now obsolete. 
  "It has been decided to replace signalling and telecommunication assets and provide automatic signalling on the busy route which has 47 stations and nine big yards including Etawah, Aligarh, Tundla and Dadri," said a senior Railways Ministry official involved with the project. The CTC centre is coming up at Tundla, said the official. The railways is also introducing the mobile train radio communication (MTRC) system in the section as a pilot project. 
Source: Press Trust Of India 

  Lonavala to host a rail regional museum 

  MUMBAI, August 07, 2008: Despite having constructed regional rail museums (RRM) in all other regions, Indian Railways had ignored the western region, until now. Finally, the ministry of railways has identified land at the picturesque Lonavla ghat and allocated funds to create a Western regional museum displaying artifacts and the history of rail in five states, including Maharashtra. 
  The railways would start the museum with a temporary display of historic tidbits and artifacts at Lonavla station sometime around  October 15 this year. Meanwhile, the ministry has also started the  process of selecting a technical consultant who would guide officials on the architecture of a permanent museum building. The consultant is likely to be appointed before October 15, said  officials. 
Source: The Times of India  

  Matheran toy train in Unesco heritage list soon
  MUMBAI, Agust 04, 2008: Buoyed by support from the Union Ministry of Culture, Indian Railways is busy preparing a final dossier on the historic Matheran Light Railway (MLR) for a place in the World Heritage List prepared by Unesco. Railway officials hope to have the Matheran hill train on the Unesco list in 2009. 
  Indian Railways did the tentative listing of the century-old Matheran hill train with Unesco in 2005 itself. However, the deluge on 26/7 later that year, in and around Mumbai, washed away almost  half the tracks and rails of the 20-km Matheran railway. At several spots, the original alignment itself was nowhere to be seen because of massive landslides on the mountains. However, the Central Railway spent close to two years and considerable funds on resurrecting the toy train and restarted operations in February 2007. 
  The toy train had its first run from Neral to reach the top of the breath-taking mountains on April 1, 1907. Matheran Light Railway, founded by Mumbai based entrepreneur Abdul Hussain Peerbhoy, celebrated it's centenary on April 1, 2007. Abdul Hussain, son of business tycoon Sir Adamjee Peerbhoy, had personally supervised the construction of the narrow gauge line from Neral to Matheran from 1904 to 1907. 
Source: The Times of India

 The historic Matheran Light Railway (MLR) for a place in the World Heritage List prepared by Unesco. Railway officials hope to have the Matheran hill train on the Unesco list in 2009. 

   Train blaze kills 32 in Andhra 
   Warangal, August 01, 2008: At least 32 people have been killed after a fire broke out on the Gautami Express a passenger train in Andhra Pradesh, railway officials say. The fire started as the Gautami Express was passing through forest  some 125 miles (200km) north of Hyderabad. The cause of the fire is yet to be established but police said an electric short circuit might have been to blame. The fire broke out in the S9 sleeper coach at 1.15 AM near Kesamudram railway station, about 200 km. from Hyderabad. Five coaches of the train were gutted in the fire, said police in 
Warangal district where the blaze broke out. -PTI

  The ‘139’ Indian Railways tele-helpline

  July 29, 2008: The move by Indian Railways to outsource the integrated train enquiry services to a BPO for all calls related to its rail services has proved to be a major success in the very first year since its launch. The ‘139’ Indian Railways tele-helpline, which has been outsourced to Bharat BPO (part of Omnia BPO Services Ltd), has already earned the company revenues of over Rs 1 crore since its launch on July 17 last year. The service was aimed at bringing high quality information services within the reach of rail passengers across the nation.

   Indian help for railway sector 

  COLOMBO, July 22,2008: The Indian Government has pledged US $ 168 million to Sri Lanka to develop the island’s railways sector. The financial assistance, provided under the Indian Credit Line (ICL) will be used to upgrade Sri Lanka’s coastal railway line hit by the 2004 tsunami and to strengthen the operating fleet of the Railways Department. 
  Accordingly, the existing rail track from Kalutara to Matara is to be replaced by an improved track made of concrete sleepers and new rails, while a new, advanced signal system will also be installed. The Indian Rail Construction Company has taken up the renovation project estimated to cost US $ 78 million. 
  Among the other benefits to be received under the ICL are 20 new diesel electrical power sets and three engines for the Railways Department, to be purchased from Rail India Technical and Economy (RITE). Three locomotives required for track maintenance and maintenance machinery worth US $ two million will also be provided under the scheme. The agreement relating to the supply contract was signed between RITE representatives and Transport Ministry Secretary Thilak Kollure yesterday, in the presence of Transport Minister Dullas Alahapperuma. 
Source: Sri Lanka News

  Ordinary train with AC coach

  ADRA (Purulia), July 18, 2008: The long-standing demand to accommodate a three-tier air-conditioned (3A) coach in the 315 and 316 passenger trains, running between Howrah and Chakradharpur, through Purulia was granted at last. A three-tier air- conditioned (3A) coach has been introduced in the 315 and 316 passenger trains from Howrah and from Chakradharpur which would run only during the night, on Monday and Tuesday respectively. 
  "It will run regularly," Mr Basudeb Acharia, MP of Bankura and, also the chairman of Parliamentary Standing Committee on Railways, informed: "This is the first time in the history of Indian Railways that an AC sleeper coach has been accommodated inside a passenger train." 
  Earlier an express train, 'Rupasi Bangla' ran regularly between Howrah and Purulia. It is the first train in the last 150 years of Indian Railways that might become a local train (passenger special) between Purulia and Chandil of South Eastern Railway. The passenger special has introduced stops at six different stations and also boasts of an air-conditioned chair car coach which is a rarity in the Indian Railways. Mr Om Prakesh Chaube, divisional railway manager of Adra in South Eastern Railway, also admitted: "Such kind of train services are the rarest in Indian Railways~ an express train with super charges, running between six or more stations at a local fare." 
Source: Statesman

  India’s First Ginger Rail Yatri Niwas with modern facilities 

  July 17, 2008: Shri K.C.Jena, Chairman, Railway Board inaugurated the renovated New Delhi Rail Yatri Niwas, India’s first Ginger Rail Yatri Niwas here today. The renovated Rail Yatri Niwas  developed by Indian Railway Catering & Tourism Corporation Limited (IRCTC) and the Roots Corporation Limited (RCL), stands tall sparkling new at the Ajmeri Gate side of the New Delhi Railway Station in new earthly hues and shiny warm reds. This hotel was originally built in 1988 as part of Indian Railways efforts to offer hotel rooms to the railway passengers at reasonable prices. 
  The hotel was stripped to its bare shell and renovated  with an investment of about Rs. 10.5 crores to offer the customers 109 SMART BASICS rooms and a plethora of additional facilities. A guest at the hotel now has a choice of well fitted orange and blue theme rooms with LCD TVs, posturepedic mattresses, anti allergy pillows, tropical duvets, Smart Bev Tea Coffee Maker, complimentary bottles of water and an access card to enter the room. The hotel also offers a gymnasium and a meeting room for the convenience of its guests. 
   Additionally, it will offer 24 x 7 restaurant, that will offer an array of food from across India and different parts of the world. A book store for catering to a traveler’s intellectual appetite and a 24 x 7 medical store. The rooms will be offered at an incredible price of Rs. 1199/- inclusive of taxes. Fifty per cent of the rooms will be offered at Rs. 999/- per room per night inclusive of taxes. This hotel will also have four bedded rooms where each bed will be offered at Rs.250/- for a night. It is located above the Delhi metro station. Rail travelers can call on the Toll Free Number 1800 2093333 OR 011 – 66633333. Bookings can also be made through an email at  reservations@gingerhotels.com
Source: PIB Press Release

   Indian Railways trains to have internet soon 

  July 16, 2008, The day is not too far off when you can access internet on trains. If the pilot runs being conducted on the Mumbai-Ahemedabad train turns successful, passengers will have the luxury of logging on to their computers on running trains. Hughes Communications India, a provider of satellite broadband services, was awarded the mandate to set up the first dedicated VSAT (very small aperture terminal hub) for the Indian Railways. 
   Mr Krishna of Hughes says: “Satellite dishes will be installed at the front and tail-end of the train.” Hughes has successfully installed this architecture in over a 100 trains in Europe.  The slew of facilities the Railways are planning to introduce are disaster communication systems on accident relief trains (ART), streamlining the unreserved ticketing system (UTS) and providing freight operating information system (FOIS) even in remote locations. 
  The commissioning of the dedicated VSAT hub will allow the Railways connect 1,000 locations across 19 states as against 200 earlier. This new system will help the Railways have voice and data connectivity for their services in remote stations where fixed and mobile network of telecom operators had not reached. 
Source:The Economic Times

   Railways may use bio-diesel at Rs 31.34/litre 

   New Delhi, July 12, 2008: Indian Railways is likely to procure bio-diesel at Rs 31.34 a litre, which is about Rs 3-3.50 lower than the price it currently pays for high-speed diesel. Railways had floated a tender in the second half of 2007 to procure 50,000 kilo litres of bio-diesel. Initially, Railways plans to use bio-diesel at ten per cent blending levels in all its 38 mainline locomotive sheds on a pilot basis. “If the project is successful, the blending levels can be moved further up,” said sources. 
   Bulk of the bio-diesel to be procured is expected to be an imported crude 
palm- oil derivative, the technology for which is patented by a publicly listed Malaysian firm Carotech Bhd. Carotech Bhd has formed a 50:50 joint venture with an Indian firm, Khard Soaps Pvt Ltd, called Khard-Carotech, which is expected to supply bulk of the Railways’ requirement (about 44,000 kilo litres). The Malaysian firm has a patented technology and produces bio-diesel (Caro Diesel) derived from crude palm oil — a renewable biological resource, for use in diesel engine, according to Carotech’s Web site.
Source: The Hindu 

  UNESCO declares Kalka-Shimla Railway line as a 
‘World Heritage Site’

  New Delhi/Chandigarh: July 11, 2008: The 96-km Kalka Shimla Railway, considered to be the engineering marvel of the 19 century, was declared a ‘World Heritage Site’ by UNESCO, in a meeting held at the Quebec City, Canada, earlier this week. The Indian delegation at the meeting was led by Mathew John, Secretary, Railway Board, 
Ministry of Railways. Speaking about the Kalka-Shimla line, Ravinder Kumar Sexana, Additional Divisional Railway Manager (ADRM), Ambala Division (Northern Railway) said, “With this decision, the Indian Railways has secured World Heritage status for their fourth line. The other three being the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway in West Bengal, the Nilgiri Mountain Railway near Ooty and the Chhatarpati Shivaji Terminal in Mumbai.”
  The two-member UNESCO team comprising Dr Robert Leen, a consultant of UNESCO from Australia and Ian Walker with officials of the Northern Railway visited KSR track for inspection on September 10, 2007, and were impressed by the old system at the Barog railway station. During its six-hour journey on the 96 km narrow gauge route fro Kalka to Shimla, the line runs through 102 tunnels, several arches, including 33 major bridges and picturesque stations like Dharampur, Barog and Solan.

 Constructed in 1903, the Kalka-Shimla rail is one of the most significant hill railways in the country.

  India's Larsen & Toubro gets $242 million order
  MUMBAI, July 8, 2008 (Reuters): Indian engineering and construction firm Larsen & Toubro Ltd said on Tuesday it had received an order worth 10.47 billion rupees ($242 million) from the Indian Railways. The contract, to set up a cast steel wheel manufacturing plant in the eastern state of Bihar, will have a capacity of 100,000 units per annum, it said in a statement. The project is expected to be completed by L&T's Railway Business Unit in two years, it said.

   World Bank team to assess Eastern Corridor project 

   New Delhi, July 06, 2008 (PTI): A six-member World Bank team will be here this month to hold discussions with Indian Railways about the funds for the ambitious dedicated Eastern Freight Corridor project. Indian Railways, which has approached the World Bank for funding the Rs 12,000 crore Eastern Dedicated Freight Corridor (DFC) project, will present a detailed report of the plan to the visiting team. While the World Bank team will be here on July 14, another delegation from Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) will also visit India on July 8 to assess the engineering and environment aspect of the Western Corridor of the DFC. 
   The JBIC is expected to fund the 1,483 km long Western Freight Corridor project estimated to cost about Rs 16,000 crore. The DFC to be commissioned as part of the long term railway strategy  aims at separating freight and passenger corridor, a senior Railway Ministry official said. The corridor will be used exclusively for operating freight trains at a maximum permissible speed of 100 kmph. 
   There are certain World Bank guidelines which need to be adhered for receiving any fund, said the official. All the procedures including land acquisition, compensation,  tendering process, procurement involved in the Eastern Freight Corridor are expected to be discussed with the World Bank officials during their visit, said the official.

  The Indian Railways have announced an increase in haulage charges

   MUMBAI, July 4, 2008 (Reuters): The Indian Railways have announced an increase in haulage charges for containerised cargo in privately-owned wagons from August, a move which will force container rail operators to raise prices, the companies said.
   According to a railway circular issued on Tuesday, the freight rate will go up 14-16 percent from August 1 for a distance of 1,000 kilometres and beyond and for weight categories of 20 tonnes and beyond per twenty- foot-equivalent units (TEU).  "We will definitely increase the rates because we cannot afford it," Prem Kishan Gupta, deputy chairman and managing director of Gateway Distriparks said on Friday.
  "Interest rates have gone up and other costs have gone up so it has to be passed on to the customer, if it becomes applicable," he said. The Indian Railways charges a haulage fee from container train operators to haul trains over India's rail system. The Indian Railway provides the locomotive, crew and passage on its system.

   Indian Railways funds to touch one lakh crore

  SIVAGANGA, July 03, 2008: Lauding the aggressive marketing policy of the Indian Railways, Union Minister of state for Railways R Velu said here tonight that it had created surplus fund to the tune of Rs 25,000 
crore in the financial year ending 2008 and it would touch one lakh crore when the UPA Government completes its term. 
  Participating at the inaugural function of the newly converted Broad Gauge (BG) section between Karaikudi and Manamadurai, he attributed the 12 per cent growth rate of the railways to the same aggressive 
marketing policy. In the last five years, most of the Medium Gauge sections had been converted into BG sections and only the Madurai-Bodi Section, stretching to 90 km remained to be converted. 
  The Central Government had also permitted 4 new lines, including Chennai-Cuddalore. After the completion of Trichy-Madurai, Madurai-Thoothukudi-Maniyaachi-Nagercoil electrification, he would take efforts for the electrification of Trichy-Karaikudi-Manamadurai BG sections. 
Lucknow division gets 3 new trains
   LUCKNOW, July 02, 2008: Indian Railways has given three new trains originating from Lucknow division in July 2008 time table. A weekly Express train (4260/4259) between Varanasi and Rameshwaram and two tri-weeklies, a Garib Rath Express train (2213/2214) between Varanasi and Anand Vihar terminal in Delhi) and an air-conditioned Express train (2233/2234) between Lucknow and New Delhi, are the new trains given to the division. However, the date of introduction for the trains is yet to be decided. 
   Train no 4260/4259 will operate from Varanasi on Sunday and from Rameshwaram on Wednesday, while train no 2213/2214 will operate from Varanasi on Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday and from Anand Vihar on 
Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Train no 2233/2234 will operate from Lucknow on Tuesday, Friday and Sunday and from New Delhi on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday.
    Train no 4265 (Varanasi-Dehradun Express) will be an alternative train for Dehradun-bound passengers from Varanasi and Lucknow, after Doon Express. The train will not have an extended stoppage at Lucknow as before. So far, it was operating as a commuter train between Varanasi and Lucknow and as mail/express train between Lucknow and Dehradun. Also, train no 8103 Tata-Amritsar Express, from Varanasi, has been 
scheduled for morning in the 08:00-08:15 am slot than the previous 00:45-01:05 slot. 
Source: The Times of India  



                           More...        Indian railways News January-June 2008
       Indian railways News 2007 

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