Tuesday, 13 April, 2010

WR Surpasses Freight Loading Target

Western Railway has surpassed the freight target of 55 Million Tonnes (MT) set by the Ministry of Railways for year 2009-10. The target was crossed on 12th March itself, 19 days in advance of closure of this financial year.

The target was fixed by Ministry of Railways for year 2009-10 at 55 million tones which is 10% more than the previous year’s loading on Western Railway.

The major increase has been in the commodities like Coal, Cement and Containers which is 81.3%, 30.5% and 25% respectively as compared to the corresponding period of last year. There is also an increase in the transportation of commodities like Chemicals, Iron and Steel, Sugar and Pet coke. Traffic from port has been the major contributor in the growth. By the end of the financial year, Western Railway is likely to cross 58 MT mark.


WR won the first prize in the 7th Global Vendor 2010 – An Industrial Exhibition -Cum-Vendor Development Programme, organised by MSME – Development Institute, Mumbai, National Small Industries Corporation, Mumbai & AIPMA, Mumbai and supported by AIAI, BSSIA, IACCI & SMEDCI, Mumbai, held at Andheri in February, 2010.

The CMR Cell of Western Railway exhibited around 135 items during the exhibition. About 102 industries from public sector, large and small scale sector participated in the exhibition. In the seminar, Western Railway made presentations on Vendor Registration and E-Procurement procedures in Railway. On this occasion, GM/WR, Shri R.N. Verma congratulated the Stores Deptt. for this achievement.

Seen in the picture are GM/WR, Shri R. N. Verma (Centre) flanked by Shri Bimal Rautji, CMM(Sales) and Shri S.K. Prasad, Controller of Stores and Sr. Officers with the trophy.

Western Railway General Manager, Shri R. N. Verma inaugurated the newly constructed Diesel EMD Loco Care Centre at Sabarmati in Ahmedabad Division on 29th March, 2010. Constructed at a cost of Rs. 37 Crores, the Care Centre is well equipped with advanced technology to handle and repair the state-of-the-art WDG4 Diesel Locomotives On this occasion seen with General Manager, Western Railway , Shri R. N. Verma are Shri K. K. Atal, Chief Mechanical Engineering, Shri S. K. Jain, Chief Administration Officer (Construction) and Shri A. S. Garud, Divisional Railway Manager, Ahmedabad

MRVC has got ‘Excellent’ MOU rating during the year 2008-09 for the first time.

Signing of Memorandum of Understanding

between Mumbai Railway Vikas

Corporation Ltd and Ministry of Railways

A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Mumbai Railway Vikas Corporation Ltd (MRVC) and Ministry of Railways has been signed on 30.03.2010. The MOU specifies the performance criteria and details of works alongwith expenditure to be incurred during the next year are finalized for MRVC during the year 2010-11. The MOU was signed between Dr. P. C. Sehgal, Managing Director, MRVC and Shri Shivaji Rakshit, Secretary in the Ministry of Railways.

The MOU has been framed as per the guidelines issued by Dept. of Public Enterprises in the Ministry of Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises. Meetings were held with the Task Force nominated by DPE consisting of eminent personalities in the ranks of Secretary to Govt. of India of different ministries. As per the MOU, MRVC has to spend an amount of Rs. 730 crore on various projects for getting ‘Excellent’ rating during the year 2010-11. The major expenditure will be incurred on procurement of balance 24 twelve-car EMU rakes under MUTP Phase I, DC-AC Conversion works on Central Railway, completion of Virar Car Shed, stabling lines and additional maintenance facilities for EMU rakes, additional lines between CSTM-Kurla and Thane-Diva on Central Railway, extension of Harbour Line from Andheri to Goregaon and 6th Line between Mumbai Central-Borivali financial year 2009-10, MRVC has spent more than Rs. 900 crore on various works under MUTP Phase I and Phase II.

General Managers’ Conference

Conference of the General Managers’ of the Indian Railways was held on 17th March, 2010, in Rail Bhawan, New Delhi.

Brief of the deliberations made in the Conference is as under:-

In the Conference, apart from the Members, Addl. Members of the Railway Board, General Managers of the Zonal Railways as well as Production Units along with Director General, Staff College Vadodara, Railway Health Services, Railway Protection Force, General Secretaries /Secretary Generals of all the Federations/Associations were present. Hon’ble Minister for Railways, along with the MoSRs(A) & (M), was also present in the Conference.
In the Conference, I raised the following issues:-

I appreciated the Hon’ble Minister for Railways for giving appreciation to the Unions/ Federations in her Budget Speech as well as for opening of Kendriya/Navodya Vidyalayas, Technical Institutes, Hostels, Creches, enhancement of SBF by Rs.150(from Rs.350 to Rs.500), announcement of Safety Related Retirement Scheme for all the staff working in Grade Pay Rs.1800 in safety categories, Mobile Medical Van for health check-up of the Railwaymen and their families at their respective residence/work place.

I once again raised the issue of filling-up of vacancies and reminded Hon’ble M.R. that about 128 number of trains have been either introduced or their trips have been enhanced but not a single staff has been sanctioned or recruited. Apart from this, more than two lakh vacancies are lying unfilled, out of which, 80% vacancies belonging to safety categories like Trackman, ASM, Technician, J.E., S.S.E., Station Superintendent, Asstt. Loco Pilot, Motorman, Ticket Checking Staff, Enquiry & Reservation Clerk, etc. The above is increasing workload on the existing staff.
On the other hand, Railways is promoting outsourcing and offloading regular works to private companies/firms as well as contractors, leading to failures and becoming a safety hazard.

I also mentioned that the above is the main cause for run over of Gangmen as well as staff are dying on duty. Though some good steps have been taken for the recruitment of ALP, ASM, Technician, etc., where mega employment notices have been issued but these staff after recruitment and training will be available only after 2-3 years if everything is going well.
I once again demanded that the recruitment of group `D’ staff should be reverted back to in-house as was done in the past at the Divisional and Workshop levels. I also requested for the engagement of Substitutes. I pointed out to Hon’ble M.R. that in spite of her clear instructions during Safety Review Meeting, held on 26.10.2009 in Rail Bhawan, as well as in the last GMs’ Conference, engagement of the Course Completed Act Apprentices as group `D’ has not been complied with.(MR was surprised and again asked all the GMs to immediately engage Course Completed Act Apprentices as well as to fill these posts by June 2010).

For the mode of recruitment of group `D’ staff, she said that the Member Staff, Railway Board, would discuss the issue with the Federation and would resolve the issue at the earliest.

I pointed out that in the last GMs’ Conference, I had requested for some package to the category of Trackman, Keyman, Gateman, Mate, etc. You had asked to form a Joint Committee to resolve the problem but it is unfortunate that no such Committee has been formed nor any consultation has been made. The M.R. advised the Railway Board(CRB and MS) to form Joint Committee and expedite the issue immediately.

I also requested the M.R. for in-house recruitment of the handicapped staff to meet their special necessities of their recruitment nearest to their place and reminded her that these were her instructions in her last tenure as MR.
I again reminded the Hon’ble M.R. that there is lot of discontentment amongst the Railwaymen because of anomalies and these need immediate attention, particularly in the GP of Rs.1900, 2800 and 4600 which need improvement and requested for taking-up the issue with the Finance Minister.

I thanked the Board for the approval of 20:80 for ALP GP Rs.1900 and 2400.

I also requested her that the problems faced by the Federation for the payment of VI CPC arrears from 1.1.2006, Mileage, improvement of Running Rooms, Allowance to Goods Driver and Guard and their Career Progression as well as problems of Loco Inspector should also be resolved.

In 2006, while negotiating on strike notice, it was promised by the Railway Board that a High Powered Committee would be established to review the duty hours of safety categories of Railway employees, particularly Running Staff. Unfortunately, it has also not been established up till now. I requested that it should immediately be established to avoid safety hazard.

I also requested to upgrade apex grade Sr. Supervisors/SSEs into group `B’.

On my mentioning to stop Annual Review, it was told by the Member Staff that the Annual Review has already been dispensed/deferred in the wake of CRC.

I told the Hon’ble M.R. that in the normal AVC, a Technician from GP Rs.1900 would be promoted to GP Rs.2400. But it is unfortunate that in the MACP Scheme, a new GP of Rs.2000 has been introduced, which has created loss to the Technicians as well as some other categories and requested for its immediate review.(MR immediately asked the Member Staff, who stated that this is the creation of the DoP&T. The MR asked the MS to pursue the DoP&T, and in case her help is required, she is ready to talk at appropriate level).

On my mentioning that after Herculean efforts, VI CPC agreed to give GP Rs1800 to group `D’ staff and classified them as group `C’. But some of the GMs are not giving them benefit of group `C’, particularly allotment of Type II quarters, deduction of Rs.30 as GIS as well as issue of Complementary Pass. The MR asked to implement it immediately.

On my request that women employees in the Railways still require lots of facilities/ concession and complained that Child Care Leaves, Common Room Facilities, Crèches, etc. are still not provided to them. I also requested that looking special circumstances and conditions, Railways being model employer should introduce flexi-duty hours for them and lot is still needs to be done for women empowerment. The MR stated that the suggestions in this regard should be given to her in writing. These would be considered sympathetically.

I also mentioned that due to shortage of staff, HOER is being flouted without Factual Job Analysis, classification of workers are being changed from “Continuous” to “Intermittent”, which is highly irregular and demanded that such practice should be stopped immediately.

I told the MR that the security of the Railwaymen is creating problem day-to-day and the Railwaymen are being assaulted by the irate mob, travelling passengers and terrorists. Now the condition has come that in some sections of NFR, ECoRs, ECR(CIC Section) the staff is being forced to give extortion money of Rs.1000-2000 every month. In such a condition how Railwaymen can deliver stress free service and therefore requested her for immediate relief.(The MR asked the DG/RPF to provide special security cover to the Railwaymen of the particular sections where they are under the threat of extortion).

While thanking the MR for her determination and statement that the Railways would not be privatized, I requested her that PPP projects must not snatch the jobs of the Railwaymen. Our activities should not be outsourced as well as safety of the Railways should also not be endangered.

Giving complement to the MM about the performance of Kurla Automatic Washing Plant, I asked to replicate the same throughout the Indian Railways by the Railways itself instead of going for PPP.

I requested the Member Staff, Railway Board, to compulsorily introduce 5-day Computer Awareness Programme, in each module, with that the problem of the MT for computerization of the lobbies will also get resolved.

I requested the MR that the issue of Privilege Pass is being delayed badly, causing lots of frustration amongst the Railway employees and requested her that orders for 2 AC Pass to the employees working in GP Rs.4200 and 3 AC Pass to the employees working in GP Rs.2800 should be issued immediately.

I also requested the MR that Duronto Trains are far away from the Railway employees, should be given privilege of rail travel to the Railwaymen at par with Rajdhani Express trains. The MR asked the MS to consider it sympathetically.

I requested the Railway Board that since Railwaymen are working under great stress, they should take help from Art of Living, who has its own special course and special modules on Yoga that will help Railway employees as well as to improve our Railway System.

While concluding, I requested the MR for having a joint meeting bi-monthly.

Yours fraternally,

(Shiva Gopal Mishra)
General Secretary
All India Railwaymens' Federation

Rlys Experiment With

Cost-Effective Fly Ash Sleepers

Lucknow : The Research, Design and Standards Organisation (RDSO) of Indian Railways is experimenting with cost-effective sleepers for railway tracks. At present, railway sleepers are made with cement concrete. Now, the RDSO, in collaboration with IIT-Kanpur and NTPC, is planning to use fly ash in the sleepers, which will not only make them more durable, but also cost effective. An initiative of NTPC, the project was undertaken by RDSO in January 2010, and the sleepers will undergo lab tests in the next three months before going for field trials.

Fly ash is a residue of coal-based thermal power plants and is generally considered a waste. However, it is known to acquire cement-like properties when mixed with lime and water because of its pozzolanic characteristics, said V K Mathur, Head of Ash Utilisation Division, NTPC.

India produces 150 million ton fly ash every year and by 2012, the production is expected to reach 200 million tons. Mixing 25 to 30 per cent of fly ash gives 20 per cent more durability to the cement structure as the fly ash particles, being smaller in size than the cement particles, settle in the smallest of voids in a cement structure and make the structure more condense, Mathur told The 'Paripurna Railway Samachar'.

He was in town to participate in the two-day UIC Asia Workshop on Optimisation of Pre-stressed Concrete Sleepers organised by the International Union of Railways in collaboration with RDSO. This is the first time that railways organised an international workshop in Lucknow and more than 80 delegates from across the country, as well as from Germany and Australia, participated in it.

“We produce around one crore sleepers every year and if the experiment is successful, it will reduce the cost of production of each sleeper by approximately Rs 30, which will mean an overall cost saving of Rs 30 to 35 crore per annum for India Railways,” said A K Singhal, Executive Director (Track), RDSO.

“In the long run, this will also gain carbon credits for RDSO as it will reduce 0.15 million tons emission of carbon dioxide per annum,” Mathur said. Fly ash is also expected to reduce lime requirements in the process by 0.15 million tons, he added.

“The lab tests on sleepers made of 30 per cent fly ash is being done in IIT-Kanpur and if all goes well, we will be ready for its field trial in the next three months. The first trials on main track will be done in the vicinity of RDSO, Lucknow,” said Singhal.
Tripathi Ji,
General mood of the people at zonal railways specially in the Signal & Telecommunications dept is low due to lack of motivation and lack of training in upgrading their technology skills. People in zonal railways think Railway Board should take immediate steps to correct the situation. This is something you can translate and publish this in Hindi version of Railway Samachar.
Problems and Issues Facing
By Signal & Telecom Dept.

This is to bring to your attention that S&T Dept of almost 16 zonal railways have following major issues ( partial list, this is just begining) :

1. Lack of thorough understanding of how new Interlocking applications are designed.

2. Engineers in S&T dept lack expertise to develop strong requirement specifications and do not have thorough verification & validation methods. According to major contractors or vendors, they think Indian Railways Engineers do not communicate clearly their expectations and this results in poor deliverable. Vendors or contractors also think that this major reason why projects are delayed and costing Indian Railway huge amount of money for simple modifications to design specification, verification and validation activities.

3. Engineers in S&T Dept are quiting Indian Railway to join private sector, one reason could be better pay, chance to work in better technology and training opportunities
We all know that S&T (Signaling and Telecommunication) is an important backbone of Indian Railways. Railway Board should recognize that people are the major assets and thorough emphasis should be placed on productivity improvements and what tools or technologies people need to make them successful which will ultimately benefit Indian Railways in upgrading its technology tool set.

Railway Board should pay attention to safety.
Dr. Tapan Kumar Roy (Phd)
Singur, West Bengal
Mumbai deserves world class
mass metro transit system

Mumbaikars contribute almost 60% of taxes to the central government.Workforce in Mumbai are hardworking and they deserve the best Rail Cars are still 19th century old style, why can't we take some cues from Europe and Singapore and introduce fresh designs.

Introducing new rail cars will boost the image of Mumbai and people will be proud. People ofMumbai do not mind paying for the best.

Is highspeed rail possible in Western Railway corridor?

According to International Railway Experts, high speed rail network on Western Railway local rail network is possible.
Dr Tapan Kumar Roy (Phd)

What value does Commission
of Railway Safety bring ?

It's a shame that Commision of Railway Safety has still not published the finding and recommendation of the train collisions that occured in UP, Bihar on the website at least. Why is the Ministry of Railway quiet on this subject. Is the human lives cheap.
1. Is n't Commission of Railway Safety suppose to enforce or audit periodically the process and safety critical assets of railways and publish the findings about the gaps in railway safety?

2. Taxpayers / Passengers deserve to know which zonal railways are weak in safety matters.

3. What a shame that after 2007 not a single recommendation and audit pertaining to train accidents has been posted on their website. There have been several dozen major accidents since 2007 http://civilaviation.nic.in/ccrs/accidents/Foreword.htm

4. There should be a "Wall of Shame" that publishes the name of the officers who are found to be negligient of their duties and have put passengers at risk. This will serve strong message to officers who take passenger safety and put precious human lives at risk.
Indian Rail Passengers deserve proper response from Rail Authorities. Otherwise Office of Commission of Railway Safety should cease to exist.

Dr. Tapan Kumar Roy (Phd)
Singur, West Bengal

China offers high-speed
rail assistance to California

(The following story by Keith Bradsher appeared on the New York Times website on April 7, 2010.)

BEIJING — Nearly 150 years after American railroads brought in thousands of Chinese laborers to build rail lines across the West, China is poised once again to play a role in American rail construction. But this time, it would be an entirely different role: supplying the technology, equipment and engineers to build high-speed rail lines.

The Chinese government has signed cooperation agreements with the State of California and General Electric to help build such lines. The agreements, both of which are preliminary, show China’s desire to become a big exporter and licensor of bullet trains traveling 215 miles an hour, an environmentally friendly technology in which China has raced past the United States in the last few years.

“We are the most advanced in many fields, and we are willing to share with the United States,” Zheng Jian, the chief planner and director of high-speed rail at China’s railway ministry, said.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger of California has closely followed progress in the discussions with China and hopes to come here later this year for talks with rail ministry officials, said David Crane, the governor’s special adviser for jobs and economic growth, and a board member of the California High Speed Rail Authority.

China is offering not just to build a railroad in California but also to help finance its construction, and Chinese officials have already been shuttling between Beijing and Sacramento to make presentations, Mr. Crane said in a telephone interview.

China is not the only country interested in selling high-speed rail equipment to the United States. Japan, Germany, South Korea, Spain, France and Italy have also approached California’s High Speed Rail Authority.

The agency has made no decisions on whose technology to choose. But Mr. Crane said that there were no apparent weaknesses in the Chinese offer, and that Governor Schwarzenegger particularly wanted to visit China this year for high-speed rail discussions.

Even if an agreement is reached for China to build and help bankroll a high-speed rail system in California, considerable obstacles would remain.

China’s rail ministry would face independent labor unions and democratically elected politicians, neither of which it has to deal with at home. The United States also has labor and immigration laws stricter than those in China.

In a nearly two-hour interview at the rail ministry’s monolithic headquarters here, Mr. Zheng said repeatedly that any Chinese bid would comply with all American laws and regulations.

China’s rail ministry has an international reputation for speed and low costs, and is opening 1,200 miles of high-speed rail routes this year alone. China is moving rapidly to connect almost all of its own provincial capitals with bullet trains.

But while the ministry has brought costs down through enormous economies of scale, “buy American” pressures could make it hard for China to export the necessary equipment to the United States.

The railways ministry has concluded a framework agreement to license its technology to G.E., which is a world leader in diesel locomotives but has little experience with the electric locomotives needed for high speeds.

According to G.E., the agreement calls for at least 80 percent of the components of any locomotives and system control gear to come from American suppliers, and labor-intensive final assembly would be done in the United States for the American market. China would license its technology and supply engineers as well as up to 20 percent of the components.

State-owned Chinese equipment manufacturers initially licensed many of their designs over the last decade from Japan, Germany and France. While Chinese companies have gone on to make many changes and innovations, Japanese executives in particular have grumbled that Chinese technology resembles theirs, raising the possibility of legal challenges if any patents have been violated.

All of the technology would be Chinese, Mr. Zheng said.
China has already begun building high-speed rail routes in Turkey, Venezuela and Saudi Arabia. It is looking for opportunities in seven other countries, notably a route sought by the Brazilian government between São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, Mr. Zheng said.

International rail experts say that China has mastered the art of building high-speed rail lines quickly and inexpensively.

Chinese are engineering driven — they know how to build fast, build cheaply and do a good job,” said John Scales, the lead transport specialist in the Beijing office of the World Bank.

The California rail authority plans to spend $43 billion to build a 465-mile route from San Francisco to Los Angeles and on to Anaheim that is supposed to open in 2020. The authority was awarded $2.25 billion in January in federal economic stimulus money to work on the project.

The authority’s plans call for $10 billion to $12 billion in private financing. Mr. Crane said China could provide much of that, with federal, state and local jurisdictions providing the rest. Mr. Zheng declined to discuss financial details.

China’s mostly state-controlled banks had few losses during the global financial crisis and are awash with cash now because of tight regulation and a fast-growing economy. The Chinese government is also becoming disenchanted with bonds and looking to diversify its $2.4 trillion in foreign reserves by investing in areas like natural resources and overseas rail projects.

“They’ve got a lot of capital, and they’re willing to provide a lot of capital” for a California high-speed rail system, Mr. Crane said.

Later plans call for the California line to be extended to Sacramento and San Diego, while a private consortium hopes to build a separate route from Los Angeles to Las Vegas.
Toyota is shutting a big assembly plant in Fremont, Calif., that it once operated as a joint venture with General Motors, and one idea under discussion is converting the factory to the assembly of high-speed rail equipment, said Mr. Crane, who is also a member of the state’s Economic Development Commission.

Rail parts from China would then come through the nearby port of Oakland, in place of auto parts from Japan.

“High-speed rail requires a lot of high technology — we would send many high-end engineers and high-end technicians” to California, Mr. Zheng said.

G.E. estimates that the United States will spend $13 billion in the next five years on high-speed rail routes. China, with a much more ambitious infrastructure program, will spend $300 billion in the next three years on overall expansion of its rail routes, mainly high-speed routes, according to G.E.

China’s long-term vision calls for high-speed rail routes linking Shanghai to Singapore and New Delhi by way of Myanmar, and someday connecting Beijing and Shanghai to Moscow to the northwest and through Tehran to Prague and Berlin, according to a map that Mr. Zheng keeps on a bookshelf behind his desk.

He cautioned that there were no plans to start construction yet outside China.

A high-speed rail link for passengers from Beijing to Shanghai will be finished by the end of 2011 or early 2012, and cut the journey to four hours, from 10 hours now, Mr. Zheng said.

New York to Atlanta or Chicago is a similar distance, and takes 18 to 19 hours on Amtrak, which must share tracks with 12,000-ton freight trains and many commuter trains.
For the American market, Mr. Zheng said, “we can provide whatever services are needed.”