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                                                    Indian railways current News 2009
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  SAIL develops corrosion-resistant rails
  KOLKATA, August 31, 2009: A unique collaborative alliance formed between IIT-Kanpur, Indian Railways’ arm, Research Design and Standards Organisation (RDSO), and Steel Authority of India (SAIL) has developed cost-effective corrosion-resistant rails for the first time in the country. The Railways has already sourced the first batch of some 500 tonnes of these nickel-copper-chromium (NCC) rails for its Jharsuguda division. This is part of a 10,000-tonne order for corrosion-resistant rails in 2009-10 bagged by SAIL’s Bhilai steel plant, which also developed the rails recently. For starters, such rails are being used in coastal areas which are typically exposed to adverse weather elements. The new NCC rails were put to rigorous field trials recently, following which the Railway Board has instructed all railway zones to directly source these rails from Bhilai. -ET

  Patna Junction to be developed as disabled-friendly station

  PATNA, August 30, 2009: Patna Junction has been selected to be developed as a disabled-friendly station of the Indian Railways. The railways has plans to provide more special facilities for the physically challenged persons at all major stations across the country.  According to senior divisional commercial manager (senior DCM) of Danapur division of East Central Railway (ECR) Om Prakash, the  railways has so far provided facilities like separate booking counter, parking, waiting hall and toilets for the disabled persons at Patna Junction. Even access ramps have been provided at Patna Junction for them while boarding trains from here to far off places, he said. 
  Under the new plan approved by the Railway Board, the railways has selected about 1,500 stations which would be developed as disabled-friendly stations at the country level for the convenience of disabled persons travelling by trains, the senior DCM said. 

  Indian Railways  switches to green track

  NEW DELHI, August 25, 2009: The railways is going green. In a bid to cut down on carbon emissions and rising fuel costs, Indian Railways is trying to channelise its vast resources into turning eco-friendly. From designing bio-toilets, using bio-diesel and gravity valve technique to cutting down on water wastage, the projects are on show at the ongoing 8th International Railway Equipment Exhibition at Pragati Maidan. According to V Nagrajan, senior engineer of Southern Railway, the division is now using bio-diesel to run four trains on the Tiruchy-Thanjavur sector. "We began our project in 2005 and saw considerable success. We use the B-5 to B-20 variant on trains, meaning 20% of the diesel is bio-fuel. We are aiming for a 100% variety. This bio-fuel has been tested on super-fast trains like the Delhi-Amritsar Shatabdi Express too,'' he said. 

  Railways exhibition starts in Delhi

  New Delhi, August 23, 2009: Over 150 railway equipment companies, including those from the US, the UK and China, will showcase products and latest technologies tomorrow at an exhibition here. The three-day exhibition, to be jointly organised by Railways Ministry and industry body CII, will support the modernisation plans of the Indian Railways.
  The 8th International Railway Equipment Exhibition ( IREE 2009) is expected to be participated by over 150 companies from 12 countries, including the US, the UK, Australia, China, France and Germany, CII said in a statement. "The Indian Railways, this time, will specially focusing on Railway equipment manufacturers, electrification, energy conservation, locomotives, maintenance and service equipment, mass rapid transport systems, safety and security systems,"it said. Indian Railways is continuously focusing on modernisation of its entire railway system particularly stations and trains, in view of the Commonwealth Games, to be held in Delhi in 2010.

There will be no privatisation or commercialisation of the railways
  KOLKATA, August 20, 2009: Rubbishing talk that efforts are on to privatise the Indian Railways, Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee Thursday said she would be the last person to do so. There will be no privatisation or commercialisation of the railways, Banerjee said at the 54th Annual Railways National Award Function here.
"We'll make the railways so strong that no one can undermine this organisation. We'll ensure nobody can touch our employees as well. We are passing through an important stage. "It's the railway employees who take care of the safety and security of this huge organisation," she said. 
  Reiterating her oft-repeated stand, Banerjee said: "Indian Railways is just not a transport organisation, it has social obligations too. Whenever there's a natural calamity, we always reach there to help out people in distress. She said the railways had already identified 112,000 acres of land which would be used for development work in the coming days. 

  Railways to directly monitor food quality

  KOLKATA, August 17, 2009: The next time a rail passenger complains about poor quality of food supplied by private catering services in long distance trains, a team of inspectors team led by the concerned chief commercial manager (CCM) will inspect it and take stern action if food quality is found to be poor. The licence of the catering service agencies could be rejected permanently after CCM's recommendation. In a bid to improve the quality of food served on trains, the Indian railways has decided to give priority to the food quality checking drive and as such the new additional responsibility was given to the chief commercial managers of various zones.
  Senior railway officials said the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) that used to look after the catering services do not have sufficient officers to check the quality of the food regularly. Earlier, when a passenger complained about poor quality of food, the IRCTC used to look into the matter. But passengers allege that despite their repeated complaints, the quality of food on trains did not improve. A railway spokesperson said that CCMs would monitor the catering service to improve the quality of food services.
Source: The Statesman 

CAG finds fault with Rajdhani, Shatabdi
   New Delhi, August 13, 2009 : The Railways might take pride in operating the Rajdhani and Shatabdi Express trains, but the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) has said that in more than 50 per cent of 
occasions, these prestigious trains have not reached their destinations on time.  “If measured from a passenger’s perspective—arrival at destination at the time given in the time table— trains were late on 54 
per cent of occasions, while prestigious trains like Rajdhani and Shatabdi were late on 53 per cent of occasions,” the CAG report said. The report maintained that, now, the Indian Railways address punctuality purely from an operational point of view, where trains handed over late by one zone to another were recorded as being punctual so long as they do not get delayed further.
   In addition, the zones reported wrong data in order to show that trains were punctual on 95 per cent of the occasions, the CAG report said. An independent assessment of 568 trains disclosed that as many as 79,122 runs out of 1,45,886 runs, which constituted 54.24 per cent of the total runs, the trains had reached the destinations beyond their scheduled time of arrival. Out of these, on 30,487 occasions, the delays were for more than one hour. Moreover, the delays were due to factors like engineering delay, signal failure, loco failure and miscellaneous reasons than due to external factors or untoward incidents. The delayed runs of super fast trains accounted  for 23,247 out of 79,122 runs, which included prestigious trains like Rajdhani, Shatabdi, Jan Shatabdi and Sampark Kranti.
   During 2007-08, the 37 Rajdhani and Shatabdi trains that were reviewed reached the destinations late on 53 per cent (4,956 out of 9,378 runs) of the occasions. Even while considering the engine hour cost of a 
diesel loco, the delayed runs reviewed involved an extra expenditure of Rs 47.41 crore on fuel consumption alone.  Source: DH News Service

   Railways take measures to prevent accidents 

   Lok Sabha, August 06, 2009 : As a result of safety measures taken by the Railways to prevent accidents, there has been a declining trend in the number of train accidents from 415 in year 2001-02 to 194 in 2007-08 and further to 177 in the year 2008-09. Measures taken include timely replacement of over-aged assets, adoption of suitable technologies for upgradation and maintenance of track, measurement of  overstressing of track and bridges, rolling stock, signaling and interlocking systems, safety drives and inspections at regular intervals to monitor and educate staff for observance of safe practices. 
   Each and every train accident is inquired either by a committee of railway officers or by the Commission of 
Railway Safety depending upon the seriousness of the accident. During the years 2006-07, 2007-08, 2008-09 and in the current year from April to July 2009, a total of 613 consequential train accidents took place on Indian Railways. Out of which, 80 were inquired into by the Commission of Railway Safety and balance 533 were inquired into by the Departmental committees. This information was given by the Minister of State for 
Ministry of Railways, Shri K. H. Muniyappa in a written reply in Lok Sabha today. 

Indian Railways to set up 1000 MW power plant in Bihar
   Monday, August 03, 2009:Indian Railways would set up a 1000 MW capacity power plant at Nabinagar in Bihar to meet its power requirements. Mr E Ahamed minister of state for railways told the Rajya Sabha that 
the plant will be set up under a joint venture with NTPC. Railways have already formed Bharatiya Bijlee Company Limited for initiating power projects for it.
   In a written reply in the House, Mr Ahamed said that the upcoming plant will feed 164 traction sub-stations located in Eastern and Western region of the country.Railways consumed more than 14,096 million KWH in 2007-08 for operational (traction) and non operational (non traction) purposes.

   Bangladesh wants to broaden rail links with India 

   Dhaka, July 23, 2009 (PTI): Bangladesh has asked India to broaden (rpt) broaden rail links between the two countries, which got snapped due to the 1965 Indo-Pakistan war. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has said that her country wants broader rail links with India restored and this she has conveyed to Indian Railways Minister Mamata Banerjee. 
  Rail links were snapped following the 1965 Indo-Pakistan war, six years before the sovereign state of Bangladesh was born. "The railway connection was disconnected after war we want to open it  we want to develop our railways," Ms. Hasina told a 50-member business delegation, led by FICCI. "Our government has already sent a request to Indian Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee in this regard," she said. Bangladesh Commerce Minister Mohammad Faruk Khan said good connectivity was needed in order to improve relations between the two countries. 
  Earlier, Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) Vice-Chairman Harsh Mariwala, leading the Indian delegation, had said, "... We need a definitive improvement in the infrastructure for movement of goods and people between the two countries . "If the Bangladesh government can open up the Chittagong port for Indian cargo, then this would have a huge multiplier effect on our bilateral relations."

   Wi-Fi on Indian Railway 

   Mumbai, July 22, 2009: The Indian Railways is contemplating to introduce Wi-Fi in select Indian trains according to the minister of state for ministry of railways, E.Ahamed. The facility of Internet services by using Wi-Fi system was demonstrated on trial basis in Mumbai-Ahmedabad Shatabdi Express train from Jan. 11-24 and this was found successful, says a press release published on a government website. Following this, the proposal is under consideration to provide this facility in select trains. However, when exactly will this commence is not specified.

   Indian Railways to reduce running train sound 

   Kottayam, Kerala, July 16, 2009: To reduce the rhythm (sound) Indian Railways are welding the rails with alumino thermit process without use of fish plates. However the welding is done for a set of five or six rails and at that point the noise is inevitable but yet rhythmic. Passengers travelling on trunk routes would experience smooth running of the train.
   Indian Railways are also experimenting with the rails that have their ends cut at 45 degrees angles. In this when the coach is on the move from one rail to the other (the next one) there is no sound since the wheel is already on the next rail, before leaving the earlier one. In this the fish plates have to be used instead of 
welding the joints. - The Hindu

   Setting up of Budget Hotels by Indian Railways
   Ministry of Railways, July 11, 2009: The Indian Railways has entrusted Indian Railway Catering & Tourism Corporation Ltd. (IRCTC) with setting up of Budget Hotels in the vicinity of major railway  stations either directly or through Public Private Participation. IRCTC follows two packet open competitive bidding system to grant licenses. Tender for each site is separately issued by IRCTC. Indian Railways gives the land on license to IRCTC for a period of 30 years with a revenue sharing ration of  40:60 between Indian Railways & IRCTC besides a nominal land license fee such that the total earnings to the  Railways is not less than 2.5 per cent of the market value of the land. The detailed contract conditions with the licensee are framed by IRCTC. 
  This information was given by the Minister of State for Ministry of Railways, Shri E. Ahamed in a written reply 
in Rajya Sabha today. 

   Railways has over 1.7 lakh vacancies: Mamata Banerjee

   Delhi, July 10, 2009 (ANI): Indian Railways has over 1.7 lakh vacancies for various grades, which will be filled in after reviving the existing recruitment process, Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee informed the Rajya Sabha today. Replying to a question, Banerjee said the review of the Railway Recruitment Board (RRB) would also examine regional aspirations and problems raised during the railway recruitment process in Maharashtra, Assam, and Karnataka.The fresh recruitment process will resume only after reviewing the entire process, Mamata said.
  She informed the house that, of the 1,72,444 vacancies, 1,12,566 posts are vacant in Group C, 58,329 are in Group D and 1,549 vacancies in Group A and B. Replying to a separate question, Mamata said there was a backlog of 1,814 vacancies of SCs in Group C and 1,688 for STs. There is no backlog of vacancies of SC and ST in Group A and B. A special recruitment drive will be launched to fill SC and ST vacancies at the earliest, Mamata informed the house. Mamata also informed the members that Railway Ministry is launching its own 
catering service, the pilot project will assume in Rajadhani and Shatabdi trains. (ANI)

   Railways take steps to curb menace of touts 

   Ministry of Railways, July 08, 2009 (PIB): In a drive to curb menace of touts on Indian Railways, a total number of 2521 touts buying tickets in fictitious names were apprehended and prosecuted, whereas a total 
number of 20240 cases of passengers travelling on transferred tickets were detected during the year 
2008-09. During the first two months of the current financial year i.e. April and May 2009, a total number 
of 298 touts were apprehended and 4226 passengers travelling on transferred tickets were detected. This 
has happened during the internal checks undertaken by Indian Railways on regular basis. 
   Indian Railways have been taking several steps to prevent such activities. These include: i) Intensive checks conducted by Railways’ Commercial and Vigilance Departments at reservation offices, stations and in trains, ii) Campaigns to educate the public to desist from purchasing tickets from unauthorized persons, iii) Bridging the demand-supply gap through running special trains, introducing new trains, augmenting existing trains, etc., and iv) Providing the facility of e-ticketing for easier access to booking reserved tickets.

  Indian Railways plans acquisition of 18,000 wagons

  New Delhi July 4, 2009 (PTI): The government today said Indian Railways proposes to acquire 18,000 wagons in 2009-10,under rolling stock programme during the current fiscal against 11,000 in the previous financial year. The announcement made by Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee is likely to benefit domestic wagon making  firms – BEML, Texmaco and Titagarh Wagons. "There is a growing demand for wagons in railways. We propose to initiate the process for taking over wagon units of Burn Standard and Braithwaite," Banerjee said  in Parliament while presenting the Railway Budget 2009-10.
  Banerjee said talks have already been started with concerned Ministries for waiver of accumulated liabilities. "Efforts will be made to complete all action at the earliest as the units are PSUs under the Ministry of Heavy Industries," she said.

 Railways proposes to invest Rs 40,745 crores in this fiscal 
 New Delhi, July 3, 2009 (PTI): The Indian Railways, one of the largest profit-making industries in the county, proposes to invest Rs 40,745 crores in the current fiscal, up from Rs 36,773 crores in the previous financial year. Out of this investment, it would pump in Rs 12,393 crores on railway research, while road safety works (road over and under bridges) 
would get Rs 5,135 crores, Railway Budget for 2009-10 revealed. 
  The Railways also proposes to invest Rs 1,906 crores on gauge conversion and would inject Rs 1,797 crores on machinery and plants. For restoration of dismantled lines, the budget, presented by Railway Minister Mamta Banerjee, proposes to invest Rs 2,054 crores. Another Rs 2,921.70 crores would be invested for building new lines. The Railways also earmarks Rs 1,526 crores for amenities of its staff and passengers. It would also pump in Rs 4,247.28 crores on locomotives and Rs 3,616.61 crores on the carriages. 
  For the current fiscal, the Railways expects revenue to the tune of Rs 8,121 crores, against Rs 11,066 crores in the previous fiscal, with total expenditure amounting to Rs 82,504 crores and total receipts at Rs 90,626 crores. 


   Now, know your railway ticket status through texting
   LUDHIANA, July 1, 2009: The railway authorities have started the SMS alert facility for the convenience of passengers to get Passenger Name Record (PNR) status before travelling in the trains. According to information, passengers can send an SMS to railway enquiry number 139 and know the status of their tickets. Earlier, they used to call at the enquiry number for the same, which usually remained busy. It is worth mentioning that the authorities had forwarded a proposal to the railway board around a month back for its approval, so that they could launch the service to facilitate the general passengers. The Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) will take care of the service. 
   Sources said passengers have to type PNR and the PNR number and send it to 139. And, they will get the status of their tickets within a few minutes. Speaking on the condition of anonymity, a railway employee, said,  "Passengers had always been demanding to provide them an alternative for the enquiry of their seats because it becomes difficult to get any information through a phone call."  He further said passengers were a harried lot after the railway authorities wrapped up their local enquiry number 131, which somehow was proving helpful to the local passengers. 
  "The authorities hope that the new service will definitely bring reform in the system and bring respite to the commuters," he added.  Discussing the issue, Naveen Malhotra, a commuter, said, "We can get our PNR status from the website as well, but the service will prove beneficial when one cannot access the internet."  He informed that it has been around 15 days that the service has become functional and now passengers need not to wait for their calls to be received because the SMS service would prove more beneficial to them. 
Source: The Times of India

Railways to adopt ‘IGBT’ technology to regenerate electrical energy 
  MUMBAI, June 30, 2009 (PIB) : Indian Railways is reaching a new milestone of approving green energy project in Mumbai. The Ministry of railways has decided to replace the existing Electrical Multiple Units (EMUs) with the new ones fitted with regenerative brakes by adopting three phase technology with Insulated 
Gate Bi-polar Transistor (IGBT) based system which are capable of regenerating 25 to 30 per cent of the energy used. Forty seven (12 car) rakes have been commissioned with regenerative braking system so far and 48 rakes are expected to be commissioned during 2009-10. The Designated National Authority (DNA) which is under Ministry of Environment & Forests has accorded host country approval for this project under Clean 
Development Mechanism (CDM) on 12th Jan, 2009. World Bank is working for registration of this project with 
United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). 
  The purpose of the project is to adopt 3 phase IGBT technology in Indian Railways for three phase EMUs in 
Mumbai suburban area of Western & Central Railways. The regenerated electrical energy reduces the consumption of equivalent grid electrical energy required by the powering train, thereby conserving electrical energy and subsequently leading to reductions in Green House Gases (GHG). 

  Railways  plans for wind power and thermal power generation

  New Delhi June 27, 2009, The railways also have mega plans for wind power generation, for which they are looking for suitable locations in Gujarat and Tamil Nadu. The railways plan to have another thermal power plant even as their Nabinagar project, to come up in a joint venture with country’s largest power producer NTPC Ltd, has remained a non-starter. 
  The railways are in the process of hiring consultants for chalking out a captive power generation plan, which is likely to include thermal power generation for running trains and power from non-conventional sources for railway stations, sources said. The Indian Railways consumes about 14 million units of electricity every year, at a cost of Rs 6,000 crore. The plan will also aim at reducing this cost. 
  A railway official said the department was putting in equity of only Rs 417 crore in the Nabinagar project, while it would  save Rs 400 crore annually when the plant became operational. The total project cost is Rs 1,605 crore. 
   On the non-conventional energy front, the railways’ foray has been more successful with its 10-Mw wind farm in Chennai becoming operational last March. Suzlon had helped the railways put up the plant.

   Mamata's budget to push PPP projects
   New Delhi June 25, 2009 : With the present economic conditions not providing much scope  for either large-scale fare concessions or an across-the-board  increase in freight rates, the highlight of the Railway Budget for 2009-10 is likely to be a big push to public-private partnership (PPP) initiatives to enhance the Indian Railways’  capacity to earn higher revenues on a sustainable basis.
   Even though Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee will like to present a populist budget on July 3 with more amenities for passengers, another fare cut is unlikely because Lalu Prasad’s Interim Railway Budget in February has already strained the Indian Railways’ finances. Prasad had announced a 2 per cent reduction in passenger fares. Similarly, any increase in freight rates looks unfeasible because of the current economic 
downturn. With the fare cut already in place, achieving the projected 12 per cent growth in passenger revenue in the current year will be a challenging task, admit railway ministry officials. Moreover, if the freight rates remain unchanged, growing freight revenues by 8 per cent will again prove to be a  difficult target.
Source: Business Standard
   New Railways' time table to be out in October

   New Delhi June 23, 2009 (PTI): Indian Railways' new time table for 2009-10, containing revised timings of passenger trains, will be released in October instead of July as scheduled. "The new time table will come into effect from October one," a source in the Railway Ministry said. "This decision was taken to include trains which are expected to be announced in the upcoming Railway Budget on July 3 in  the time table, apart from those announced in the interim Rail Budget," the source added. 
   As per convention, Railways releases the new time table — Trains at a glance — every year on July 1 across the country.Sources said this year the Railway Time Table committee, comprising senior officials from various zones, will sit after the Railway Budget is tabled in Parliament.
   The committee prepares the timings of the new trains announced and carries out revision in timings of the existing trains. According to Railway officials, several trains are likely to be speeded up after the new timings comes into effect. Revised passenger reservation schemes, fare rate slab and new  premium services announced by Railways during the course of the year would also find a place in the time table, the 
sources added. The zonal time tables would also be released simultaneously. 
  Indian Railway operates over 7,000 trains daily across the country. Recently, Central Railway came out with a summer special time table. This followed after Railways announced to run over 4,500 special services across the country till July to meet the summer rush. Taking a cue, Northern Railways also published its own summer special time table. - PTI
Rlys to manufacture stainless steel coaches
   PATNA, June 19, 2009: The railways have decided to manufacture low-cost stainless steel coaches to improve the riding comforts of passengers. The Rail Coach Factory (RCF) at Kapurthala in Punjab has recently rolled out 28 such coaches, which would be first introduced on the Amritsar-Jaynagar route for the Shaheed Express train. 
   According to sources, these newly designed coaches are similar in looks to the LHB German coaches which are being currently used in the Rajdhani Express and Shatabdi Express trains across the country. 
The salient features of these coaches are that they have superior aesthetics, better riding comforts and low maintenance cost as well, the sources said. 
   A Railway Board official said that the newly designed coaches are all set to herald an era of stainless steel coaches in the Indian Railways which would be used in all mail and express trains. The railways have, so far, introduced stainless steel coaches in the Rajdhani Express and Shatabdi Express trains only, he said. He informed that the coach factory has decided to replace the flat bogies currently being used in LHB coaches to indigenously manufactured bogies to bring down the manufacturing cost of  stainless steel coaches. Use of German-based LHB technology in manufacturing each air-conditioned coach has been too expensive now. However, the use of new indigenous technology in manufacturing stainless steel coaches with a modified ICF-type bogie is likely to reduce about 40 per cent manufacturing cost being incurred on 
production of each LHB coach, he said, adding that the railways would, thus, save a huge sum of money in manufacturing such coaches for mail and express trains. 
Source: The Times of India 

   Railways plan 4 luxury trains 
   New Delhi,June 17, 2009 : The Indian railways are introducing four luxury train tours in January with an eye on the high-end foreign tourist. The new train tours -- two each for Delhi-Mumbai and Delhi-Kolkata -- are along the lines of the palace-on-wheels, and was planned after a joint venture by railways and the travel company Cox and Kings. The tours will wind their leisurely way across the country for eight days and seven nights for a princely tariff of $1,000 a night. Stopovers will include such places as Gaya and Varanasi on the Kolkata route, and Bandhavgarh and Khajuraho on the Mumbai route. However, with railway minister Mamata Banerjee keen on appeasing the aam aadmi more than anything else, there's a doubt whether the project will be given enough rope. - DNA

  State vs the rest: Mamata puts Bengal on track
  Kolkata, June 14, 2009: The new Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee has been accused of neglecting the Ministry at the cost of Bengal politics. Reportedly, the Minister is preparing the Rail Budget without taking any advice from her Ministers of State  – KH Muniyappa and E Ahmed – and hasn’t allotted any work to them. 
Muniyappa who was a MoS under the former railway minister Lalu Prasad refused to specify the work that has been allotted to him. Mamata has decided that Railways will send a medical team, comprising of doctors from railway hospitals, to cyclone-ravaged areas of West Bengal. A number of medical camps would be set up by the Railways in the affected areas. - CNN-IBN


  Rlys to set up modern wagon trolley factory in Bengal 
  NEW DELHI, June 10, 2009: Indian Railways is planning to set up a Rs 100 crore high-axle load wagon trolley factory in collaboration with the US in West Bengal. “Steps are being undertaken to set up a modern wagon bogey factory with US technology in West Bengal. An MoU will be signed with the US for setting 
up the 25-tonne axle load wagon soon,'' said a senior Railway Ministry  official. There has been a growing demand for high axle load wagon trolley and the proposed factory is expected to cater to the demand. Asked why West Bengal was selected for setting up the factory, the official said “majority of wagon manufacturing units are in the State. It is in the interest of the system that wagon trolley factory is also set up near these units so that the transport ation cost for assembling a wagon is minimum.'' Once the factory with the state-of-the-art technology is set up, it will be first of its kind in the country. The factory is expected to produce 5,000 wagon bogies in a year. Besides, the modern factory, Railways is also planning to acquire the wagon manufacturing factory in Burnpur in West Bengal. - PTI 

Indian Railways enquiry service New No- Call 138
  Jun 08, 2009: Call 138 for Indian Railway enquiry by the Indian Railways (IR) anytime soon? Not only will you be greeted by 'Rail-hostesses' on some trains, but you will also be able to make railway related enquiry using IR's upcoming new call center number - 138.
  Currently, the 139 railway enquiry service is active 24 hours which serves the purpose of over seven lakh people everyday for information about PNR status, arrival/departure of trains, seat availability, fares as well as accommodation. To cope up with the increasing number of calls received on 139 everyday, IR has 
decided to introduce the 138 service. 

   Railways to develop over 500 model stations

   NEW DELHI, June 4, 2009 (PTI): With an aim to attract more passengers and improve basic amenities, the Indian Railways has decided to give a facelift to over 500 stations across the country incorporating state-of-the-art facilities. Altogether 528 railway stations spread over 16 Zonal Railways will be developed into two categories -- Model and Modern. 
   "Among the selected stations, 271 will be developed as model and 257 as modern which will provide additional passengers amenities, safety and security system," a senior home ministry official said. 
While the stress on developing model stations will be to ensure basic amenities like rest rooms, retiring rooms, refreshment rooms and cloak rooms, the modern stations will have state-of-the-art waiting rooms, signages, personal address system and improved cleanliness. 
   An additional feature in both the model and modern railway stations will be to have adequate security and safety measures to deal with any eventuality like terror and Naxal attacks, the official said. "There are about 7,000 railway stations across the country and it is necessary to develop them all in a phased manner. That is why we have decided to start with the project of model and modern railway stations and taken at least five stations in each division of the zonal railways," he said.

  Two trains torched in Bihar as trains skip stops

  PATNA, June 1, 2009: Coaches of two passenger trains were set ablaze and the Khusrupur railway station in Bihar's Patna district was ransacked by a mob Monday to protest the East Central Railway's decision to not halt any express train at the station. 
  Police said hundreds of people set fire to three coaches of the Danapur-Jainagar Intercity Express and one bogie of Rajgir Danapur Express in Khusrupur, about 35 km from here. However, no casualty was reported. The protesters also uprooted rail tracks, disrupting traffic on the Patna-Mokama route.

  Mamata gives wagon industry feel-good factor 

  KOLKATA, May 25, 2009: With 80 per cent of the wagon industry based in the eastern region, chief executives of companies in this industry were first to react to the news of Mamata Banerjee being allocated the railway portfolio. Ramesh Maheshwari, President and Chief Executive Officer of K. K. Birla group company Texmaco said, “The appointment of a minister in the Cabinet rank from West Bengal for the railways portfolio augurs well for this  industry — 80 per cent of which gravitates around West Bengal and the eastern region. Pawan Ruia, Chairman of another major wagon manufacturing company, Jessop, an erstwhile public sector unit, said this was good news indeed for the wagon manufacturing industry.

  Mamata Banerjee new Railways Minister
  Delhi, May 23 (PTI) Mamata Banerjee given Railways in partial allocation of portfolios by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who has retained veterans Pranab Mukherjee and P Chidambaram in Finance and Home Ministries respectively. A K Antony stays in Defence and Sharad Pawar Agriculture Food, Civil Supplies, Consumer Affairs and Public Distribution, portfolios they had handled in the previous UPA government.
  Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who had taken 19 ministers in his new Cabinet, had told reporters at the Rashtrapati Bhawan yesterday that portfolio distribution would take two-three days. However, surprisingly the limited allocation of portfolios was announced by the Rashtrapati Bhawan today on the advice of the Prime Minister, who preferred to get down to business and distributed ministries on which there are apparently no no differences.


  Now, get PNR status of rail ticket via SMS
  LUCKNOW, May 15, 2009: Hung up on the line to enquire about your PNR status? Do not crib. 139 has an SMS-way out. The call centre service of railways that came into existence about two years back has become a little more friendlier. 
  Sources in Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) confirmed that sms service on 139 has become functional. Currently, it can be used only for enquiry of PNR status of passenger's ticket. Write -- PNR (give space)(type PNR number) -- and SMS to 139. The message will be delivered within no time. Since it is not a toll free service you might have to pay Rs 3 per SMS. "The service has just been started," said sources. 
  The plan to transfer array of services provided by IRCTC on mobile phones through wide network of service providers had been in the offing since long. This time around, sms can be sent from any of the service providers except two. And most probably, it is BSNL and Reliance that are not providing the facility to its users. 
  The all Indian enquiry 139 already provides information about PNR status, arrival/departure of trains, seat availability and fare/ accommodation when passengers call on it. For further queries, passenger can press a star and talk to the customer care executive as well. 
  Though BSNL, MTNL, Vodafone and Airtel users can connect to this number for information, sources added that sms service might not be available on all of them. Just as calling up on 139 is not free of cost service similarly sms service is also not a toll-free one. Passengers can use it to confirm the PNR status after the information has been fed into the reservation chart which is usually an hour before the train departure. Since the service is a new one it might make passengers face some initial hiccups like time taken in providing PNR information. 
Source: The Times of India


 Railways to carry out survey work for running bullet trains
 PATNA, May 12, 2009: A high level team of the Railway Board officials held a meeting with Bihar chief secretary R J M Pillai recently in connection with the survey work of the proposed running of bullet train between Patna and Delhi. The railways intend to carry out survey work soon so that its feasibility could be  assessed. 
  According to sources, the total cost of the survey work on Patna-Delhi route is likely to cost about Rs 11 crore. This route falls under Bihar, UP and Delhi. Accordingly, the cost of survey is to be shared with the railways by these states. Of about 1,000 km stretching from Patna to Delhi, about 200 km falls in Bihar. The Bihar government is to share half of the cost to be incurred on the survey work of about 200 km, sources said. 
  According to sources, the railways are conducting survey on the Pune- Mumbai- Ahmedabad, Delhi-Chandigarh, Patna-Delhi, Bangalore-Chennai and Chennai- Hyderabad routes. The survey work and feasibility report are being prepared by a reputed company of France. If everything goes well, the railways would complete the survey work in a couple of months, the board official said.   
  The railways will require at least Rs 10,000 crore to build up the infrastructure to run bullet trains. Though maintenance of bullet trains, particularly locomotives, is very costly, the Indian Railways are capable of maintaining bullet train coaches with the help of advanced technology, sources said. 
Source: The Times of India

 Bullet trains are specially designed to run at the maximum speed of 250 km to 300 kmph per hour in foreign countries. In fact, separate tracks are required to run bullet trains which are substitute to air traffic in foreign countries. Besides, no goods trains would run on the special tracks of bullet trains for safety reasons, a technical expert said, adding the railways have been running the fastest Shatabdi Express on Delhi-Gwalior route at 140 kmph. 

   Railway panel to review training system
  NEW DELHI, May 9, 2009: The Railways recent turnaround in earnings and proposed expansion plans like dedicated freight corridor (DFC), speed trains, world class stations require more skilled manpower. This realisation has forced the Railway Board to constitute a committee which will "revisit the specialised training needs of the Railways in the changed scenario". In this context, the board has decided to constitute four special posts, including that of a chairman for the Railway Training Committee. 
  The chairman of this committee will be the adviser of the Railway Board A K Nigam, a senior Rail Bhavan official said here on Friday. Apart from the chairman, the three members will be: Executive Director, Enterprise Resource Planning ED/ERP, Railway Board; Executive Director, Transport and Training (Marketing), Railway Board; and Executive Director (Finance), Railway Board. The committee "will revisit the training needs of probationers of Indian Railways in view of the changing environment in the transportation sector and initiation of vibrant new culture in governance", the official said.

  Holiday special on Kalka-Shimla track
  New Delhi/ Shimla May 5, 2009: The Indian railways has started a holiday special train on Kalka-Shimla track. There are already five toy trains operating on this 96-km narrow gauge heritage track. The holiday special is now the sixth on this mountain route. It arrives in Shimla at noon. 
 The first holiday special left Kalka on Saturday. Railway officials say the new train is running full. Besides tourists from across the country, foreign tourists also head to the hills of Himachal Pradesh to escape the intense heat of the plains. Even though trains on the Kalka-Shimla heritage track take much longer than a car or bus journey, the toy train is still preferred by many, particularly by foreigners, as it offers scenic views.
  The narrow winding track was built during the colonial British  rule. Lord Curzon, British viceroy, started the first train in 1903. The track rises from 650 m in Kalka to almost 2,100 m above sea level in Shimla. It passes through 103 tunnels, 969 bridges, 919 curves and 18 railway stations.Unesco accorded the world heritage status to this century-old-route a year ago.

  Toy train on Kalka- Shimla track

   Railway  ticket booking through cellphone
   PATNA, May 3, 2009: : Railway ticket booking through cellphones is picking up fast with 1,000-odd tickets being booked through cellphones every day all over the country. Cellphone-savvy people, particularly in metropolitan cities, have been using this new system quite frequently. The new system has spared the cellphone users the travails of waiting in queues to procure railways' computerised journey tickets. 
  The Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) Ltd has taken the lead in introducing this ultra-modern system after an old system, introduced by it in 2003, could not click due to some technical reasons. The earlier system operated through voice mail and SMS only. However, the new system operates through Java-enabled handsets as well as those sets having internet facilities, sources said. 
  The new system is very similar to e-ticketing, a Railway Board official said and added people wishing to book rail tickets through cellphones need to have Java- enabled handsets so as to access internet services. This facility will enable the traveller to book his ticket in advance, and get the ticket delivered by couriers. Those having own mail IDs can book the tickets online also. Since the use of cellphone has become quite common, people would find it convenient to book railway tickets well in advance even from remote places. Besides, they could also seek information related to berth availability and journey plan through cellphones. "Railways is keen to ensure availability of railway tickets at doorsteps of travellers without charging any additional cost," the 
Railway Board official said. - The Times of India 

Singapore model for Metro in Chandigarh
  CHANDIGARH, May 01, 2009:: To make the Metro project a commercially viable venture, RITES is studying the Singapore model so that it could be replicated in Chandigarh by finalizing the financial plan accordingly. 
During a recent presentation given by consultancy firm RITES, certain UT officials had said the project must be a profitable venture. Working on this, the company suggested the Singapore model. Under this, income from parking fee and taxes charged on tickets would be utilized to break even the annual investment of Rs 3,000 
crore.  Both Punjab and Haryana governments have already agreed to share the project cost on basis of Comprehensive Mobility Plan and Detailed Project Report. Both documents would be prepared by RITES. 
Source: The Times of India 

  France's top railway operator in India for comparative study

  KOLKATA, April 25, 2009: : A team of top officials from Société Nationale des Chemins de fer français (SNCF), France’s top railway operator which also runs the TGV, are now in the country to undertake a comparative study of engineering and maintenance of rolling stock. 
  The French delegation will hold meetings with the Railway Board and in various zonal railway headquarters to discuss and exchange notes on maintenance methods and practices in the two countries. The French team is also likely to visit facilities of Indian Railways’ Research Design and Standards Organisation  in Lucknow

  Maoists rule India's 'Red Corridor'

  BANGALORE , April 23, 2009: Indian Maoists hijacked a train with 800 passengers in the eastern state of Jharkhand on Wednesday morning. Although the crisis was defused within five hours, when the Maoists 
released the train and its passengers, the incident has sparked grave concern throughout the security establishment. The ease with which the Maoists were able to stage an operation of this magnitude - and at a time when security has been tightened for general elections - has laid bare yet again that it is the Maoists' writ, not that of the government that runs through this part of the country. 
  The train was on its way from Barkakana in Jharkhand to Mugalsarai in the neighboring state of Uttar Pradesh when it was hijacked near Hehegarha railway station in Latehar  district. Around 200 Maoists are said to have 
carried out the operation. A railway station in Palamu was bombed as well. 
Source: Asia Times

IIM Calcutta launches programme for Indian Railway service officers
  KOLKATA, April 21, 2009 : IIM Calcutta has been commissioned by the Railway Board of  India to conduct a 12-week executive general management programme for 60 officers, as a part of the regular 18-month training program for Indian Railway service probationer officers. In this connection, Indian Railways and IIM Calcutta have signed an MoU for training of Indian railway service officers for the next five years starting this year.

  Reshuffle effected in 19 divisions of Railways 
  New Delhi, March 23, 2009: Indian Railways have effected a reshuffle in the top posts of 19 divisions across the country by appointing new Divisional Railway Managers (DRMs). DRMs of Delhi, Danapur, Muradabd, Ijjatnagar, Bilaspur, Jhansi, Nanded Division are among those included in the reshuffle, officials said. Danapur Division DRM B D Garg has been transferred as new DRM of Delhi replacing Rakesh Saxena, who has been transferred to Secundarabad as Chief Operational Manager. 
  Garg took over the charge from Saxena on Monday. Arvind Kumar, Executive Director Vigilance (Traffic) has been transferred as DRM Nanded in South Central Railway. Most of those transferred officials have completed their tenure of two years and reshuffle was a routine process, the officials said. -Bureau Report 

  British Wi-Fi technology to Indian Railways

  London, march 19, 2009: British Wi-Fi technology major Nomad Digital has entered into a joint venture with Indian company Zylog Systems to provide wireless internet access to India’s massive railway network. Newcastle-based Nomad Digital is a market leader in the provision of mobile wireless services for transportation, while Zylog supplies a range of IT products and solutions to its customers across multiple sectors such as banking, insurance and telecom.
  “We have identified India as a market that has huge potential for us. India’s  rail network is one of the fastest growing in the world and will help us to  continue to add more jobs over the course of the year,” Nomad chief executive  Graeme Lowdon said.

  EC nod to Railways plan to start summer specials 

  New Delhi, March 17, 2009 (PTI): The Election Commission has given its nod to the Indian Railways, which plan to announce the start of a series of summer special trains originating from Delhi. After the model code of conduct came into effect, the Northern Railways had sought permission from the EC to start 32 special trains and publish them for general public information. "The permission was granted recently," a senior Railway Ministry official said. 
  These special trains — mostly Uttar Pradesh- and Bihar-bound — will cover hundreds of trips during the season to ease the passenger rush. Destinations of the trains, which would start operations from April onwards, will include Lucknow, Chandigarh, Udhampur, Jammu Tawi, Patna, Darbhanga, Varanasi and Gaya. 
Summer special trains will also run to places including Howrah, Lokmanya Tilak Terminus (Mumbai), Ahmedabad and Guwahati.

IISc to study safety of railway bridges
  Bangalore, March 15, 2009: It is now the Railways which is turning to the 100-year-old Indian Institute of Science for its civil engineering capacities, in understanding structural engineering and safety. The premier institute is undertaking an intensive study on the condition of railway bridges in the South Western division to help the Railways decide whether bridges can take additional load. South Western Railways are receiving heavy and additional freight loads from other parts of the country, and plan to carry additional loads to different regions. Given that bridges in the division are used to taking a certain load, Railways was keen to have IISc study the bridges and tell them whether they could take additional load. IISc researchers will look at five bridges in the first study, and an additional five in the second study, covering Hubli-Arasikere, Tumkur and Mangalore region. 
Source: The Times of India

  Railways pledges to put new suburban rakes on right track

  MUMBAI, March 14, 2009: Even as Siemens has accepted that the traction motors in its swanky trains 
are faulty and agreed to replace them by the first week of April, the railway authorities have started damage control. The main reasons for failure have been identified as malfunctioning of traction motors, faulty software, pneumatic trouble and auxiliary warning system inconsistency. Traction motor and software failure contribute to 90% of the breakdowns. 
  Siemens and Mumbai Railway Vikas Corporation Ltd (MRVC)-the coordinating body-have come under criticism that the rakes failed less than a few months after they were introduced. Motors are usually built to last at least 25 years-which, incidentally, is the lifespan of a train. Officials said the rakes were tested before they were commissioned. Obviously, the lab tests didn't take into account the super-dense loads Mumbai's suburban locals are subjected to. 
  "There has been chaos at the divisional and the zonal levels. Carshed resources are pooled in and this has overburdened the staff. One technician escorts every train. The staff work under immense pressure. Indian Railways has put pressure on Siemens to sort out the issue,'' said S S Gupta, chief public relations officer, Western Railway (WR). 
Source: The Times of India

  More facilities on offer as Rajdhani completes 40 yrs
  KOLKATA, March 4, 2009: Very soon, those travelling to New Delhi by the Rajdhani Express will no longer need to take the trouble of booking a hotel room separately. They will have the option of booking a hotel room while procuring their train tickets.
  "Hotel bookings will be linked to the computerised passenger reservation system. Initially, bookings will be offered in Ginger, retiring rooms and other economy hotels. Ginger runs the Yatri Niwas at New Delhi station. Depending on passenger demand, we may offer bookings for deluxe or luxury hotels as well. The service will be extended for other trains as well at a later stage," said Eastern Railway general manager Deepak Krishan on Tuesday. He was attending a programme to mark the 40th year of the Kolkata Rajdhani Express the country's first fully air-conditioned high-speed train. 
  Revealing that the Indian Railways has plans for more luxury trains like the Rajdhanis to connect state capitals to New Delhi, he said experiments are on to serve more hygienic and filling food to passengers. 
"By the end of 2009, we hope to have Wi-Fi connectivity between Mughalsarai and New Delhi," Krishan added. According to him, high-speed corridors for bullet' trains can be possible in five years with help from the state governments. 
Source:The Times of India 

  Lure of tourists: World's oldest steam engine ride 

  New Delhi, March 1, 2009 (PTI): Travel by the world's oldest working steam locomotive on the Delhi-Ajmer route has gained momentum with the heritage train running to full capacity. Plying only eight times a year during the first and the last quarters, the 'Guinness Book of World Records' recognised train christened "Fairy Queen" ran with its full capacity of 60 passengers yesterday when it left the Delhi Cantt station. Among the passengers of the 154-year-old train, 30 were foreigners. 
  The official said passengers can now book a ticket of the train through Internet on the Railways website. 
"Fairy Queen" train was rolled out for the first time by the East Indian Railway in 1855. The locomotive of the heritage train is the oldest working engine in the world. On January 13, 1998 it was recognised by the 'Guinness Book of World Records' as the world's oldest working engine. A journey on "Fairy Queen" costs Rs 8,600 for one person for both ways while the one way fare is Rs 6,000. 
Railways harnessing solar energy for electrification
  NEW DELHI, February 27, 2009: Indian Railways is harnessing solar energy for electrification of railway assets and introducing better technologies to reduce emissions from locomotives in its bid to check environmental pollution and conserve energy, the Lok Sabha was informed. 
  A consultancy for reduction of exhaust emissions from diesel locomotives has already been sanctioned and the work is in progress, said Minister of State for Railway R Velu. Besides, various technology improvements are being taken up on diesel locos to improve performance capabilities and reduce unburnt fuels to check global warming, he said a written reply. The Minister also said solar energy is being harnessed for electrification of manned level crossings, administrative buildings, training institutes, canteens and hospitals and for water heating purposes.

  Central Railways summer gift: 1,512 spl services

   MUMBAI, February 25, 2009: This summer, escaping the Mumbai heat will be a little easier. Central Railway (CR) will run as many as 1,512 summer special services-an unprecedented 85% rise over last year's number. The summer specials will be run between April and June. The first train will leave on April 2. 
  These specials will be in addition to the regular long-distance services and are expected to benefit close to 4 million passengers.This is not all. CR will also run a number of intra-state trains to Nagpur, Solapur, Usmanabad and Pandharpur. Having introduced 11 new destinations, CR has taken the total number of special train routes to 27 this summer. 
  "The demand during the summer vacation is always high with waiting lists running up to 800. It is impossible to accommodate all the passengers. In keeping with the demand, Indian Railways (IR) has decided to pool in resources from other zones to run additional services,'' said S C Mudgerikar, chief public relations officer of 
CR. "This year, there will be trains running in all directions,'' he added. Each train will have 18 coaches. In order to tackle the rush, special arrangements have been made at booking offices. Extra booking windows will be opened as part of the arrangements. CR will start taking bookings from February 27. 
Source: The Times of India

  Railway has huge potential for job creation despite recession 

  New Delhi, February 21, 2009 (ANI): Union Railway Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav on Saturday underlined the need for infrastructure development and modernization of Railways, and said, Indian Railways has a huge potential for growth and job creation, despite the global meltdown.
  Despite lay offs in some sectors and a freeze on employment, the Railways is moving ahead with new recruitments, and has a huge potential of growth, Lalu told reporters on the sidelines of a function to mark the foundation day of the All India Management Association (AIMA) here.Yadav also underlined the need for infrastructure development, expansion and modernization in the Railways.

Vacant Posts is around 1.7 lakh in Railways 
  Lok Sabha, February 19, 2009 (PIB): The number of vacant posts on Indian Railways as on date is around 1.7 lakh including 32646 posts reserved for Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Classes. Filling up the vacancies of reserved as well as unreserved posts is continuous process. Some vacancies always remain due to non-availability of eligible empanelled candidates in the recruitment and promotional grades. Indents have been placed to Railway Recruitment Boards to fill up Group ‘C’ vacancies and Railway Recruitment Cells to fill up Group ‘D’ vacancies. Wherever eligible candidates to filll up promotional vacancies are not there, the posts are diverted to the recruitment grades and filled up by direct recruitment from open market. 

Germany keen on PPP projects with railways
 NEW DELHI, February 18, 2009: Germnay and India could co-operate in automobile and transport sectors, German minister for transport, building and urban affairs Wolfgang Tiefensee said. “We have met the Railways and discussed public-private-partnership projects for upgrading the infrastructure of Indian Railways,” Mr Tiefensee told ET during his recent visit to New Delhi. Representative of the German government had visited India last year to meet officials of the Indian Railway Board regarding technology transfer for various railway infrastructure projects, including wagons and bogies. - ET

  Railways Budget 2009-10
New Delhi, February 13, 2009: The estimated 14 million passengers who travel by trains in India daily had reasons to cheer on Friday, as Railway Minister Lalu Prasad cut fares by 2 percent, introduced 43 new routes and hiked the planned expenditure for expansion, in spite of the economic downturn that saw lower freight revenues last quarter. 
  Presenting the interim rail budget for 2009-10 in parliament in his inimitable style, punctuated by light-hearted digs at members of the opposition, Lalu Prasad also announced the extension of 14 routes, an increase in the frequency of 14 trains and additional spending on safety. 
  He also earmarked a higher plan expenditure of Rs.37,905 crore (Rs.379.05 billion/$7.58 billion) towards expansion next fiscal, against revised estimates of Rs.36,773 crore (Rs.367.73 billion/$7.35 billion) for 2008-09, hoping for higher passenger and freight earnings since January. 

  Railways to equip AC coaches with eco-friendly technology 

  New Delhi, February 11, 2009 (PTI): As part of its green initiative, Indian Railway plans to equip its entire fleet of over 1000 AC coaches with eco-friendly refrigerant technology by March. So far, Railways have been using CFC-based refrigerant technology which leads to depletion of ozone layer. India, which is a joint signatory to the Montreal Protocol, had set a deadline of December 2010 for phasing out this technology. 
  The new refrigerant technology which is being retrofitted in place of the existing one is R-134 A, considered environment-friendly. Railways zeroed in on this refrigerant in December 2006. "So far, 650 AC coaches have been converted to R-134 A refrigerant with the efforts put in by various railway zones. Indian Railways has a fleet of over 1000 AC coaches at present. East Coast Railways has already converted all AC coaches handled by it.  The conversion was carried out in a manner that the regular service was not affected. 

Railways keen to get Chinese help on high-speed trains
  CHENNAI, February 10, 2009: Indian Railways is planning to get technical support from China to operate high-speed trains along the four high-speed corridors identified across the country, said Union minister of state for Railways R Velu. "Chinese Railways has evinced interest in assisting Indian Railways to operate high- speed trains and also to set up world class railway stations," said the minister who recently led a high-level technical delegation to China.
  He was speaking to reporters after flagging off a nine-car electric multiple unit (EMU) rake fitted with a regenerative braking system that saves power by 30% and a forced ventilation system that will pump in 16,000 cubic metre into the coaches, at Integral Coach Factory. The delegation studied the way China operated their high-speed trains and also constructed and designed their world class railway stations. Even their EMU trains run at 350 km per hour and are faster than trains in Japan, which run only at 270 km per hour.

  Inauguration of Construction work on eastern Dedicated Freight Corridor 

  Ministry of Railways, February 09, 2009: Construction work of eastern Dedicated Freight Corridor (DFC) will be inaugurated by Chairperson, United Progressive Alliance, Smt. Sonia Gandhi at Rohtas in Bihar tomorrow.  The construction of the Eastern corridor will commence on the Sonnagar-Mughalsarai (127 kms.) portion and will be taken up initially on a 105 kms. portion from New Ganjkhwaja near Mughalsarai to New Karwandia near Sonnagar. This portion will be funded by equity from the Indian Railways.  
  The Dedicated Freight Corridor project on the Western and Eastern routes is one of the most ambitious projects that Indian Railways has ever taken up and once completed would meet the transport requirements of the two busy truck routes. The Eastern corridor from Ludhiana to Dankuni (1801 kms.) will pass via Saharanpur, Khurja, Kanpur, Mughalsarai and Sonnagar and will be single line on the Ludhiana-Khurja portion (426 kms.) and double line on the remaining portion. The Western corridor from Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT) to Tughlakabad/Dadri (1483 kms.) will pass via Surat. Vadodara, Ahmedabad, Palanpur, Ajmer and Rewari and will be a double-line corridor, except a 32 kms. single line link from the main corridor to Tughlakabad.

  Government okays setting up of railway locomotive factories

  February 5, 2009 : The government Thursday approved a proposal to set up two greenfield electric and diesel locomotive factories in Bihar at an estimated investment of Rs.20 billion (Rs.2,000 crore). The factories will be set up in Madhepura and Saran districts as a joint venture between Indian Railways and an international manufacturer. The companies short-listed for the joint venture include Alstom of France, Germany’s Bombardier and Siemens, General Electric’s Indian subsidiary and EMD of the US. 
  The railways ministry will procure 800 electric locomotives of 12,000-horse power (HP) each and 1,000 diesel locomotives of 4,500/6,000 HP each from these factories over a period of 10 years. These locomotives will also be maintained by the joint venture company over the next 26 years. - Indo-Asian News Service

  Indian Railway’s Technical delegation to visit China 

  Ministry of Railways, February 03, 2009: A high level technical delegation headed by Minister of State for Railways Dr. R. Velu will be visiting China from 4th to 8th February, 2009 to have an exchange of ideas on the issues of high speed railway network, world class railway stations, logistics parks, etc. The delegation includes three technical officers from Ministry of Railways (Works Planning, Signalling and Finance Divisions). It is in the context of Indian Railway’s planning large investments in these areas and exchange of ideas with Chinese Railway officials, who had executed these projects successfully and at a very fast pace. This visit would help in delivering such schemes in India in a more cost-effective and timely manner.
  This visit is in pursuance of the Memorandum of Understanding on technical cooperation signed between 
the Chinese and Indian Railways in the presence of the Prime Ministers of the two countries in China in January 2008. -PIB

  Indian Railways may shelve high-capacity coach project

  NEW DELHI, February 2, 2009: It seems long-distance railway passengers can breathe easy. Bowing to public demand and pressure from within the railways, especially the TTEs who face passengers' ire every day, Indian Railways is ''actively reconsidering its decision'' to add high-capacity coaches with extra side berths to long-distance trains and restrict their use to overnight-journey trains. 
  The worst sufferers have been the elderly who want to relax even during day time, and families with small kids, who face extreme inconvenience during day time when almost five passengers squeeze into one berth. 
Source: The Times of India

  Sonia Gandhi launches rail coach factory in Rae Bareli

  Rae Bareli, January 28, 2009: UPA chairperson and Congress president Sonia Gandhi Tuesday launched a Rs.20 billion ($408 million) rail coach factory in her parliamentary constituency, Rae Bareli. 'The rail coach factory will serve the nation's biggest need - creating jobs. As many as 8,000 to 10,000 youths across the country will get jobs once the factory comes up,' said Gandhi, who earlier arrived in Rae Bareli to launch the rail coach factory that will come up in Lalganj area.
  The upcoming factory will have state-of-art infrastructure that will be at par with any other rail coach factory in the world, she added. According to officials, the rail coach factory that was jointly launched by Gandhi,   Rahul Gandhi and Railways Minister Lalu Prasad will produce nearly 840 rail coaches annually.
  Ticket machines at major rly stations soon
  LUDHIANA, January 25, 2009 Automatic ticket vending machines are likely to be installed shortly at the busiest principal train stations like Amritsar, Jalandhar, Ludhiana and Jammu in the Indian Railways' Ferozepur division. A proposal in this regard sent to the New Delhi headquarters is at the final stages before being approved. 
  The move comes follows the ever-increasing number of passengers visiting stations every day. Initially the railway department suggested it could at least provide station platform tickets through these machines, which would greatly reduce the pressure on ticketing clerks. The machines would be similar to weighing machines that are ubiquitous on platforms. 
  Passengers very much want automatic ticket machines to be installed to avoid waiting interminably at ticket counters. Railway divisional traffic manager Parminder Singh said: "The railway authorities wanted to install such machines at major stations so they had sent the proposal. He asserted that the authorities also tried the machines at Delhi railway station and the success of the trial would decide its implementation. 
Source: The Times of India 

Railways commission computerised passenger reservation facilities 
  January 14, 2009 (PIB): In its endeavor to improve passenger amenities, Indian Railways have commissioned computerized passenger reservation facilities at 186 locations during the year 2008. Passenger Reservation System (PRS) are now available at 1665 locations on entire Indian Railways. These include Unreserved Ticketing System (UTS)-cum-PRS locations also. In the beginning of 2008, i.e. on 1st January 2008, PRS facilities were available at 1479 locations. On an average, 3.5 crore passengers per month are being booked in PRS with average Passenger Earnings of Rs. 1350 crore per month. On 14th February, 2008 all time high 1.9 million transactions were done in PRS.
  Presently Computerized Unreserved Ticketing System (UTS) is available at 1630 locations with approximately 4735 counters as against 950 UTS locations with approximately 3,000 counters as on 1st January 2008. In Railway Budget 2007-08, UTS have been sanctioned to cover all ‘A’, ‘B’, ‘C’, ‘D’ and certain ‘E’ category stations on entire Indian Railways. This will cover more than 94 per cent of the passenger earnings. In addition, Automatic Ticket Vending Machines (ATMV) have been installed at 338 locations. Further machines will be installed on Public Private Partnership model.

   Indian Railways freight traffic 606.73 million tonnes 

  January 14, 2009: Indian Railways have carried 606.73 million tonne of revenue earning freight traffic during April to December 2008. The freight carried  increases to 34.48 million tonne over the freight traffic of 572.25 million tonne actually carried during the corresponding period last year, registering an increase of 6.03%.
The Royal Rajasthan on Wheels
  NEW DELHI, January 12, 2008: The Royal Rajasthan on Wheels, India's latest and most luxurious train aimed at foreign tourists, left Delhi's Safdarjung station on Sunday. On board were 23 awestruck passengers from US, UK, Belgium and India, along with 29 lucky media persons. The train was on its maiden eight-day tour of Rajasthan and Agra. The new train follows the stupendous success of the `Palace on Wheels'. It is yet again a joint collaboration between the Rajasthan Tourism Development Corporation (RTDC) and the Indian Railway.
  With a total capacity of 82 persons, the train will have 13 deluxe coaches, one super deluxe salon, four service cars and two restro bars. As per the train's itinerary, it will leave leave Delhi every Sunday at 6.30pm and will touch Jaipur, Jaisalmer, Jodhpur, Sawai Madhopur, Chittorgarh, Udaipur, Bharatpur and Agra before returning to Delhi, but will not touch Bikaner. According to railway sources, an investment of Rs 40 crore has been made for the train. The tariff, put sources has been fixed at 2000 USD per suite per person per night. The deluxe room tariff is 800 USD. 

  Luxury Tourist Train ‘Royal Rajasthan on Wheels’ to be flagged off 

  New Delhi, January 09, 2009 (PIB): Indian Railways and Rajasthan Tourism Development Corporation (RTDC) will be jointly launching a new luxury tourist train named ‘Royal Rajasthan on Wheels’. This new luxury train will be flagged off from Safdarjung Railway Station, New Delhi on 11th January 2009 in the presence of Union Minister for Tourism Smt. Ambika Soni, the Chief Minister of Rajasthan, Shri Ashok Gehlot, the Minister of State for Railways, Shri Naranbhai J. Rathwa and other dignitaries. The Indian Railways in association with RTDC has already been jointly operating the Palace on Wheels Luxury Tourist Train since 1982. The manufacturing of bare shell of the train as well fitment of various accessories including AC system was carried out by Integral Coach Factory (Chennai), a production unit of Indian Railways. 
  The new luxury tourist train will follow the same itinerary as that of Palace on Wheels i.e. Delhi- japiur- Jaisalmer- Jodhpur-Sawai-Madhopur-Chiitogarh-Udaipur-Bharatpur-Agra-Delhi. However, the new luxury tourist train will be an advanced version of Palace on Wheels as huge efforts has been made to take care of many of the suggestions made by the tourists over the years as well as by making use of the experience gained over the years. 

 IRCTC launches Toll Free 24x7 Helpline
 January 07, 2009 (PIB): Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corporation Limited (IRCTC), a public sector undertaking of the Ministry of Railways, has launched a centralised Toll Free telephone No. 1800-111-139 for the convenience of railway users to suggest/ grievances relating to catering services on Indian Railways. The facility is available 24x7 on this number and railway passengers can register their complaints/suggestions regarding food and catering services. Wherever possible, action is taken on real time basis for redressal of their grievances. 
  Railway users may also lodge their complaints on IRCTC’s official website  OR may contact IRCTC 24X7 Control Offices phone numbers i.e. 011-23345300 (Central Control), 011-23221147 (North Zone), 033-266601743 (East Zone), 040-27716145 (South Central Zone), 022-22618067 (West Zone) and 044-25353341 (South Zone). 

 Train services remain affected by dense fog

 New Delhi, January 05, 2009: Train services remained affected for the eighth day running on Monday despite partial improvement in visibility as more than 20 Delhi-bound trains arrived several hours behind schedule and Northern Railway cancelled a Hatia-bound train till January 31 to handle the situation,  taking the total number of cancellations for the period up to 14.
 As the delays kept piling and several were rescheduled for the day, Chandigarh-Allahabad Unchahar Express was also cancelled today, said a Northern Railway spokesperson. The Varanasi-Ranchi Express has been cancelled for tomorrow only. Northern Railway has already announced cancellation of about 13 trains till January 31 to cope with the situation. 

  Lalu Prasad to lecture on Indian Railways' success in Japan 
  Patna, January 4, 2009 (PTI): After enlightening students of Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, and Harvard University, Railway minister Lalu Prasad will give his mantra on the turnaround of Indian Railways to students in Japan. 
  Prasad will leave on January 11 on a 10-day trip on an invitation from the Japan government, RJD national spokesman and a close associate of the minister, Shyam Rajak said. "Apart from studying the functioning of the railways there, Lalu Prasad will also deliver a few lectures at universities in Japan, including one in Tokyo, on the turnaround of Indian Railways," he said.    

Railway minister Lalu Prasad

  Railways Introduce ‘Mobile Helpline’ 
  MUMBAI, January 02, 2009: Indian Railways have taken an initiative to introduce ‘Mobile Helpline’ for the convenience of railway users. Vigilance officials of Indian Railways are always available 24x7 on the Mobile Helpline No. 155210 on which railway passengers can lodge their complaints of bribery/corruption against railway men. Wherever possible, action is taken on real time basis for redressal of their grievances. From the feed-back received so far, the facility of Mobile Helpline can be considered to be a success. -PIB




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

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