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From: Peter Mosse <>

Subject: 'Trains at a Glance' - news from New York

Date: 01 Sep 1998 08:13:40 -0500


I am sorry to say that copies of 'Trains at a Glance' are no longer
available in New York. This is why ...

Until a couple of years ago, IR sent an allotment of 100 copies of each
issue to an Indian-owned travel agency here which is US General Agent
for
IR (mainly for sale of Indian Railpasses). These could be purchased,
but
very few were and most of them were simply thrown away when the next
issue
arrived.

Then IR wised up and said that the allotment was still available, but
the
US Agent would have to pay shipping costs from Delhi. Not surprisingly,
the US Agent said 'Fuhgeddaboudit' - or at least that's what a native
New
Yorker would have said !

As a result, there are only two copies in New York now, one which
gathers
dust in the Indian Govt Tourist Office and another dog-eared one in the
office of the US General Agent.

So we are obviously going to have to get our copies direct from India
now
..

Peter Mosse

From: Vijay Balasubramanian <>

Subject: Re: poor passenger service on IR.

Date: 01 Sep 1998 08:32:39 -0500



>certainly something IR can improve at almost no cost, but the
^^^^^^^^
culture must change. Currently, IMO the first sentence that any
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
govt. officials learn is:
>
>"Whatever you are wanting, I am not giving."
>:-) :-(

IMHO, that's not going to happen as long as these dudes are government
employees and so they know they can't be fired!!! Fear is one of the
best motivators and if an official realizes that his callous attitude
can cost him his job, then the situation might improve. I strongly feel

that privatization is the answer. I have heard that Indian Airlines has

beefed up its services after starting to lose clients to private
competitors.

Why not have private parties run our trains by leasing the
infrastructure from IR but providing their own personnel? What are the
pros and cons of such a move?

Vijay


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From: Auroprem Kandaswami <>

Subject: Train flagged off on new broad gauge line

Date: 01 Sep 1998 13:08:41 -0500



The Hindu
CHENNAI, Sep. 1.

Direct train services from Chennai to Madurai via chord line will
begin
in January as the broad gauge conversion between Tiruchi and Dindigul
is likely to be completed by December this year, Mr.M.R.Ramakrishnan,
Divisional Railway Manager, Chennai, said here today.

Talking to newsmen after flagging off the Chennai- Tiruchi Pallavan
Express on the new BG line, Mr.Ramakrishnan said once the
Tiruchi-Dindigul conversion was over, the services of the trains,
cancelled on the Chennai-Madurai section to facilitate conversion,
would be restored.

Meanwhile,the Chennai-Tirunelveli Nellai Express, now running via
main
line, would be diverted in a month on the new BG line up to Tiruchi
and
from there it would take the Karur- Dindigul-Madurai route.

Now,only two trains - the Pallavan Express and the Rockfort Express-
were introduced on the BG line. The present running time of about 10
hours between Chennai and Tiruchi would be reduced drastically within
a
month. `Our ultimate aim is to cover the distance in less than six
hours and this is possible within two to three months'.

The Divisional Manager said direct services to north would be
available
from southern districts from March next year when the on-going
Chengalpattu-Arakkonam conversion was completed.

Referring to the conversion of the Beach-Chengalpattu suburban
section,
he said the project had been sanctioned by the Ministry and the work
would start from next year. As the State Government had agreed to
bear
50 per cent of the project cost, there would not be any difficulty in
completing it by 2001.

The Commissioner of Railway Safety, Mr.S.C.Gupta,who made the final
inspection on Monday,was satisfied with the track condition and gave
his clearance for the passenger traffic.

He permitted the Southern Railway to run the services at 80 km per
hour
from Egmore to Chengalpattu, 40 km between Chengalpattu and Padalam,
70
km from Padalam to Villupuram, 90 km between Villupuram and
Virudhachalam and 100 km from Virudhachalam to Tiruchi.

Our Tiruchi Special Correspondent adds:

Mr.R.Sundarajan, Divisional Railway Manager, Tiruchi flagged off the
Pallavan Express from Tiruchi.

The train was hauled by a 34-year-old diesel engine, which had won
the
prestigious Beauty Queen Award for its excellent and uninterrupted
service.

The broad gauge Pallavan Express has a seating capacity of 1163,
including 972 second class seats, compared to 550 seats in the metre
gauge Pallavan Express.

***

From: VIRAF P.. MULLA <>

Subject: Re: Frontier Mail

Date: 01 Sep 1998 19:52:01 -0500



Hi Gang,

Frontier is my favourite train too. The picture in yesterday's Times is
clicked in the famous DARA PASS. It's a hot favourite location on
Western
Railway. I have a picture of a steam hauled Frontier on this very
location. The Dara Pass is famouse for it's horseshoe curve.

Today morning at 5.50 my EMU passed a Delhi bound Rajdhani at Andheri
Station. Any guess why it was soo late?

Regards
==========================
Viraf Mulla
C-20/14, Jeevan Bima Nagar,
Borivali (West)
Mumbai 400103
Tel: +91-22-8954510
E-mail: sncf@godrejnet.email
==========================

From: Vdate <>

Subject: Re: poor passenger service on IR.

Date: 01 Sep 1998 21:19:45 -0500


Let me add my experience to the litany. About 21 months ago, my wife,
my son
and myself traveled from NDL to Agra and after doing the Taj went to the
station to check on our status on the return train that evening. We
were
particularly anxious as we were wait listed. Well, you might have
guessed!
The computer system was down. After probing around it seemed to me that
the
railways did have a fall back system and they were really trying their
best.
Unfortunately the officer incharge did not see it fit to inform the
passengers
about the real story and they were stone walling. When my wife sought
the
supervisor of reservations, she literally receded to her office, locked
it
from inside and would not talk to my wife or anybody else. Lesson;
communicate.

From: Vdate <>

Subject: Re: Frontier Mail

Date: 01 Sep 1998 21:29:11 -0500


We took the Frontier every year from 47 to 60 from BCT to Sawai Madhopur
and
then changing to MG train to JP. It was a grand train. ( Interestingly,
inspite of the gauge conversion, the timings between BCT and JP have not
improved.) My wish is that by the 75th B day, IR and Pak R could agree
to let
this train run to Peshawar. That would really be neat!

From: VIRAF P.. MULLA <>

Subject: Re: Frontier Mail

Date: 01 Sep 1998 22:48:07 -0500


On Wed, 2 Sep 1998 Vdate@aol.email wrote:

> We took the Frontier every year from 47 to 60 from BCT to Sawai
Madhopur and
> then changing to MG train to JP. It was a grand train. (
Interestingly,
> inspite of the gauge conversion, the timings between BCT and JP have
not
> improved.) My wish is that by the 75th B day, IR and Pak R could
agree to let
> this train run to Peshawar. That would really be neat!
>

That should be great let us all keep our fingers and toes crossed. How
do
I hope that all our mails are being read by some railway officials.
==========================
Viraf Mulla
C-20/14, Jeevan Bima Nagar,
Borivali (West)
Mumbai 400103
Tel: +91-22-8954510
E-mail: sncf@godrejnet.email
==========================

From: PROTIP.DASGUPTA <>

Subject: Re: Frontier Mail

Date: 01 Sep 1998 23:15:18 -0500


Hi All!
Well I to saw the ad in this mornings TOI and needless to say Frontier
is
and has always been my favourite train!
Well I must admit even though I passed it this evening before its
departure and most wanted to be on the platform to see it depart, I
coudlnt as I had to ruch back home on account of some urgent work!
Anyways I did at least get to see the rake placed as always on Platform
NO
3, BCT and headed by WCAM2 (I didnt get the number as it was to dark)
which was decorated with lights and looked a neat site, would have been
more mipressive to watch on the run IM sure!
The rake, I was hoping would have been a new one specially for the run,
but alas IR doesnt think it was that worth it!! Although there was some
sort of function on at the end of the platform!!
LOng live the Frontier!
Bharat Vohra

From: Prakash Tendulkar <>

Subject: Re: Frontier Mail

Date: 01 Sep 1998 23:21:14 -0500


Viraf Mulla wrote:

> Today morning at 5.50 my EMU passed a Delhi bound Rajdhani at Andheri
> Station. Any guess why it was soo late?

Loco failure on previous run from New Delhi to MCT run with
black soot over the coaches.

BTW, Viraf, when your relative, Mr. Bharucha gave me a ride on Jammu
Tavi
from Kandivali to Surat (not a typo, it was Kandivali) in 86, it was
running 7 hrs late due to similar problem. He moved master controller to
the last notch (a rare thing on WCAM1) and bingo, we were cruising at
speed well over 130 km/hr.

I do not know how many of those old timer drivers whom I knew
are in service now. Possibly only Kali Charan and Hari Yadav as DI.
Most of the others, either retired before or soon after my last visit
in 93. Uday Singh Rana, a chargeman at Bulsar (and a former loco driver)
may have retired now. Can you please find out?

On CR end, Apurva and others, can you please find out to see if Mr. More
is still working Neral Matheran section? None of the drivers from this
route ever moved to other routes, declining promotion to A-grade.

On Mumbai - Pune section, I knew one Mr. Kaka Bhagavat a.k.a. Hari Hari
who retired several years back (and is long dead). However, his
favourite assistant, Mr. Godse became A-grade driver and I believe he is
still in service.

The sole reason for asking is that I may visit Mumbai in next one year
and would like to do footplating as much as possible. WR suburban
section
should be no problem at all. For locos, nothing is impossible.

Prakash

From: SHRINIVAS V. JOSHI <>

Subject: State of affairs at I.R

Date: 01 Sep 1998 23:34:58 -0500



Hi!

So many good views are being e-mailed on this topic, but the pity is as
mentioned by Viraf, Rly. officials or Govt. functionaries are not on
this
mailing list .

Has anyone of us some good contact with the concerned personnel? so as
to
make it possible for all these points can reach them. And they on their
part put in some efforts to improve the overall condition of I.R.

Or else all these discussions are fruitless . It seems nothing
constructive
will come out of it.

So, can any one arrange for the abovementioned efforts.?

Isn't it worth to give a thought about it.?

Shrinivas

From: Anne Ogborn <>

Subject: Re: poor passenger service on IR.

Date: 01 Sep 1998 23:54:56 -0500


>
> Unfortunately the officer incharge did not see it fit to inform the
passengers
> about the real story and they were stone walling. When my wife sought
the
> supervisor of reservations, she literally receded to her office,
locked it
> from inside and would not talk to my wife or anybody else. Lesson;
> communicate.

Story from here -
Our Muni system (the trolleys/subways/light rail/busses in San
Francisco) have
been
having massive delays the last week. Basicly, the system, alsways on the
verge of
collapse,
has gotten a new and very "buggy" electronic dispatch system. That and
lots of
maintainence
problems, and the system isn't keeping up. It's crazy right now, and on
front page
of papers
every day.
I saw the same thing happen to a woman. She was trying to find out if
the line
was clogged up
(it was) from a station agent in the subway, and the agent (in a glass
booth)
turned off the intercom
and just ignored her. I was a bit away, but I think he said some bad
word to her
first.
Well, a couple days ago the mayor held a press conference to announce
he'd told
Muni
to keep passengers informed - made me shake my head in wonder that he
had to get
involved
at all!

From: Apurva Bahadur <>

Subject: Re: Frontier Mail

Date: 02 Sep 1998 01:13:38 -0500




Vdate@aol.email wrote:

> My wish is that by the 75th B day, IR and Pak R could agree to let
> this train run to Peshawar. That would really be neat!

Yes, I would love to see that happen !

Apurva

From: Apurva Bahadur <>

Subject: How favourite is the Frontier Mail ?

Date: 02 Sep 1998 01:20:08 -0500


Seems to me that the Frontier / Golden Temple Mail seems to be more of
the Mumbai gang's favourite rather than the MCT - NSDL Rajdhani or the
AK Rajdhani. Why is that ? Is the Frontier Mail diesel hauled
(preferably double headed ?). Is the Frontier mail the longest regular
running train in India, at least in the Western part of India ? Which
other trains come to your notice as more than 50 years old ?

Apurva

From: Apurva Bahadur <>

Subject: Re: State of affairs at I.R

Date: 02 Sep 1998 05:04:42 -0500


SHRINIVAS V. JOSHI wrote:

> Hi!
>
> So many good views are being e-mailed on this topic, but the pity is
as
> mentioned by Viraf, Rly. officials or Govt. functionaries are not on
this
> mailing list .
>
I have news that the divisions like Pune and Mumbai are getting an
internet
connections from VSNL very soon. In fact they have already paid the dues
to the only ISP in India and are awating their connection. They have to
computers in the office yet - but that is another story. So maybe I can
persuade at least the Pune division PRO
Mr. Y.K. Singh to subscribe to the IRFCA. At least as a passive
observer.

Apurva

>
>
> Has anyone of us some good contact with the concerned personnel? so as
to
> make it possible for all these points can reach them. And they on
their
> part put in some efforts to improve the overall condition of I.R.
>
> Or else all these discussions are fruitless . It seems nothing
constructive
> will come out of it.
>
> So, can any one arrange for the abovementioned efforts.?
>
> Isn't it worth to give a thought about it.?
>
> Shrinivas

From: Apurva Bahadur <>

Subject: Re: Frontier Mail

Date: 02 Sep 1998 05:09:25 -0500


Prakash Tendulkar wrote:

> Viraf Mulla wrote:
>
> > Today morning at 5.50 my EMU passed a Delhi bound Rajdhani at
Andheri
> > Station. Any guess why it was soo late?
>
> Loco failure on previous run from New Delhi to MCT run with
> black soot over the coaches.
>
> BTW, Viraf, when your relative, Mr. Bharucha gave me a ride on Jammu
Tavi
> from Kandivali to Surat (not a typo, it was Kandivali) in 86, it was
> running 7 hrs late due to similar problem. He moved master controller
to
> the last notch (a rare thing on WCAM1) and bingo, we were cruising at
> speed well over 130 km/hr.
>
> I do not know how many of those old timer drivers whom I knew
> are in service now. Possibly only Kali Charan and Hari Yadav as DI.
> Most of the others, either retired before or soon after my last visit
> in 93. Uday Singh Rana, a chargeman at Bulsar (and a former loco
driver)
> may have retired now. Can you please find out?
>
> On CR end, Apurva and others, can you please find out to see if Mr.
More
> is still working Neral Matheran section?
This is difficult - short of going to Neral.
>None of the drivers from this route ever moved to other routes,
> declining promotion to A-grade.
>
> On Mumbai - Pune section, I knew one Mr. Kaka Bhagavat a.k.a. Hari
Hari
> who retired several years back (and is long dead).

A legend about Kaka Bhagwat was that he used to stop the 302 Up (number
in 'those' days) Deccan Queen at Kamshet (never a stop for any mail /
express), run down to the holy Indrayani river flowing next to the
station and take a quick dip before continuing to Mumbai.

> However, his > favourite assistant, Mr. Godse became A-grade driver
>and I believe he is still in service.

Our Pune - Lonavala suburban service has Raja Godse who must be the same
person. I will confirm once I meet him. Most of the Pune based motormen
have declined promotion to be able to stay in Pune, which of course is a
much better city than Mumbai. I can see true Mumbaikar Viraf getting
very uncomfortable at being confronted with the harsh truth !
With the retirement age shifted to 60 years - no driver is saying a
farewell for a long time from now.

Apurva

From: Vijay Balasubramanian <>

Subject: Re: Frontier Mail

Date: 02 Sep 1998 06:40:22 -0500


>Frontier is my favourite train too. The picture in yesterday's Times
is
>clicked in the famous DARA PASS. It's a hot favourite location on
Western
>Railway. I have a picture of a steam hauled Frontier on this very
>location. The Dara Pass is famouse for it's horseshoe curve.

Where is the Dara Pass located? Between Shamgarh and Kota? I too have
a snap of the Frontier Mail negotiating this pass in my photocopied IR
magazine collection. I have seen many a snap of the Rajdhani Exp. on
this pass.

Vijay

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From: Vijay Balasubramanian <>

Subject: Re: How favourite is the Frontier Mail ?

Date: 02 Sep 1998 06:59:56 -0500


>
>Seems to me that the Frontier / Golden Temple Mail seems to be more of
>the Mumbai gang's favourite rather than the MCT - NSDL Rajdhani or the
>AK Rajdhani. Why is that ? Is the Frontier Mail diesel hauled
>(preferably double headed ?). Is the Frontier mail the longest regular
>running train in India, at least in the Western part of India ? Which
>other trains come to your notice as more than 50 years old ?

I have a pre-independence Bradshaw which shows the Frontier Mail as
having the longest distance between passenger halts for any train
(Churchgate(?) to Surat). It used to have technical halts in between
for attachment/detachment of dining car. The longest non-stop run was
by the Punjab Mail - Khandwa to Itarsi. The Frontier Mail was also the
first train in Western Rly. to be speeded up to 110 kmph. max (in 1972)
along with the Grand Trunk Exp., the Howrah-Bombay Mail via Nagpur and
the Howrah-Kalka Mail.

In addition, the Frontier Mail has remained pretty much unscathed with
respect to additional halts - Ramganj Mandi and Shri Mahabirji.

In the 80s, nearly 6-7 coaches would get detached from the Frontier Mail

at Delhi and become a part of the Jammu Tawi Mail; this provided through

service between Bombay and Jammu Tawi. This service has been withdrawn.

Vijay


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From: Pushkar Apte <>

Subject: Frontier Mail Mystique

Date: 02 Sep 1998 07:52:28 -0500


Let me add my best wishes to this grand train on its 70th birthday.
Indeed,
the Frontier Mail carries with it an aura and mystique that is
unparalleled. Its curious how certain trains acquire "character" while
others simply do their job. Maybe it is the route, or the history, or
the
name or a unique "class" ? There are a zillion Rajdhanis and Shatabdis
so
it is hard for any one of them to be "unique". In contrast, the
Frontier
Mail stands alone, a class by itself - catering to the rich and the
ordinary
folks, blending good speed with a reasonable halt schedule. I think
the
Frontier's Mumbai-Vadodara run remains its star run - halting at just
Surat,
skipping Vapi, Valsad & Bharuch where the Shatabdi and August Kranti Raj
halt. Let us hope the Frontier continues in its glory for another 70
years
and more!

-Pushkar

From: Vijay Balasubramanian <>

Subject: Crew change/watering stations

Date: 02 Sep 1998 09:56:36 -0500


Hi Folks,

I have always wondered what is the criteria used to pick out stations

for crew change and/or watering? It seems to me that for Rajdhani-type
trains, this should be done every 6 - 6 1/2 hrs. Is that right? During

my trip on the TVC Raj via Madras, I observed that crew change+watering
occured at Jhansi, Itarsi, Balharshah and Vijayawada.

What kind of a station qualifies for a crew change? Does it need to
have proper accomodation for the crew? Or should it have enough traffic

so that the crew can take over a new train soon? Or is it something
else?

In addition, what are the catering requirements for Rajdhani trains?
Do they need to replenish meals/raw materials every few hours?

Please enlighten me on this topic.

Thanks,
Vijay

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From: dheeraj <>

Subject: Re: poor passenger service on IR.

Date: 02 Sep 1998 11:20:41 -0500


> I strongly feel that privatization is the answer.
>
> Why not have private parties run our trains by leasing the
> infrastructure from IR but providing their own personnel?
> What are the pros and cons of such a move?

If IR is interested in privatization, there are lots of things
it can do before allowing private operators of trains. It can
privatize production units, give out contracts for cleaning staff,
maintenance, and a whole lot of things. There used to be some
talks of this nature during the Congress regime. But the UF
government went the other way and hired a lot of staff (so-called
casual labourers were regularized).

Maybe IR will start seeking help of private sector in near future,
but I don't foresee them letting private guys run trains (except
for luxury trains). And private guys won't be willing to run
trains either, given that IR would not be willing to give any
performance guarantees. We can take a look at the fate of private
power projects. They wanted a tri-partite agreement between
Coal India Ltd, Railways and the power company themselves for
timely delivery of fuel (that is coal) to the power house. Both
CIL and IR refused initially. When they did agree to pay the
penalty for non-delivery of fuel, they asked for a very hefty
hike in the freight rates over the normal rates. any private
operator would like to IR to guarantee that the train won't be
delayed due to IR problems, and this IR would never do.

So forget about privae trains. And I am not much excited with
the thought of private trains either. If IR can shed its
huge "excess" workforce, and contract out non-core services
(like cleaning, catering, etc.), things will be much better.

-dheeraj
--------------
Dr. Dheeraj Sanghi (0512) 59-7077/7638
(Off)
Dept. of Computer Science & Engineering (0512) 59-8627 (Res)
Indian Institute of Technology (0512) 59-0725/0413
(Fax)
Kanpur - 208 016 (UP), INDIA. dheeraj@iitk.email

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