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From: S.Shankar <>

Subject: Re: New Web Page

Date: 02 Aug 1999 13:27:09 -0500


Hello,
Alang is somewhere in Gujarat, I think.
I once had a bunch of random readers' letters (unverified, the
disclaimer goes) which I downloaded from the Lonely Planet site,wherein
one disgruntled traveler has mentioned that photography at the ship
breaking yard at Alang is STRICTLY FORBIDDEN, period.
He then goes on to say that the restrictions seem to be tighter than
before etc.
Wonder what kind of security risk ships being broken up offer.
Sometimes I think the Indian head is crazy: always on the edge.
Will post if I manage to find that article.
Best regards.
Shankar




Steven Sliwka wrote:
>
> A US railroad, Norfolk Southern, used to run long hood leading. In
fact, on
> most occasions they still do-at least with the locos with tall hoods,
but
> not always. The railroad even requested on their new locomotives that
the
> control stations be switched so the engineer would be on the left
side.
> Their locos have horns and ditch lights at both ends. NS had its
first and
> second generation locomotives built with a tall front hood. Like your
WDM2.
> Short hoods are much more common in the US than in India.
>
> A question for my Indian friends, where is Alang? There is a ship
scrapyard
> there, and I was just wondering where it is. How hard is it to get
pictures
> there? I am a big fan of Great Lakes Ships, and my friends want to
know
> where it is. Come visit my page I spend more time at than any other
place
> www.boatnerd.com Every night I chat with other 'boatnerds' about
ships.
>
> But Indian Railways is still a favourite subject in my mind.
>
> Steve Sliwka
>
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: S.Shankar <shankie@emirates.email
> To: <clzeni@mindspring.email
> Cc: <irfca@cs.email
> Sent: Monday, August 02, 1999 8:32 PM
> Subject: Re: New Web Page
>
> > Hello Crig,
> > Quite interesting.
> > I could not understand pic 1 though. Looks like a diesel with the
long
> > hood leading, but I cannot see any driver's cab. Is it one of those
> > helper units?
> > Which brings me to another point: do US engines ever run with the
long
> > hood leading? I know someone had posted a few pics of them, but they
are
> > about the only ones I have seen so far.
> > In India, you can almost assume it is 50-50: if the train runs from
A to
> > B with its short hood leading, you can safely assume it will return
with
> > the long hood leading, except in rare occasions when the engine is
> > turned.
> > Best regards.
> > Shankar
> >
> >
> >
> >
> > C.L.Zeni wrote:
> > >
> > > As long as everybody is announcing new web pages, I thought I'd
put in a
> > > word for mine. I regret that it's not got Indian photos; however
it
> > > does have roof views of a number of US diesels. See the page at
> > >
> > > <A HREF="http://www.mindspring.com/~clzeni/rm/roofermadness.html">http://www.mindspring.com/~clzeni/rm/roofermadness.html</A>
> > > --
> > > Craig Zeni - REPLY TO -->> clzeni at mindspring dot com
> > > <A HREF="http://www.mindspring.com/~clzeni/index.html">http://www.mindspring.com/~clzeni/index.html</A>
> > >
> > > The Sixties ain't over till the Fat Lady gets high. - J.
Garcia
> >

From: Jishnu Mukerji <>

Subject: Re: More Train Crash Updates

Date: 02 Aug 1999 15:47:24 -0500


I was just reading the story of the accident in Hindusthan Times, and I
came across what appears to be an inconsistency. I was wondering if any
of you can help resolve it.

In one para it says:

> The death toll was feared to be in the hundreds, but
> the first official figure available by mid-day today
> was 89 dead, 112 injured. Then onwards there was a
> rapid climb in the toll as more and more bodies came
> to be extricated from the mangled remains of the two
> trains. The ASM operated a mechanical lever with
> which he co-ordinated the interaction between the
> cablemen at either end of the station. There were
> four lines at the station and it is a mystery why
> the Awadh-Assam Express, which was to be on the
> Up line was diverted by the common loop to the Down
> line today on the path of the Delhi-bound Brahmaputra
> Mail in spite of the fact that the two trains cross
> the station daily.

This answers my earlier question. Clearly this is a double line section,
and Gaisal station has passing loops on both the Up and the Dn line,
most probably with a platform between each main line and its
corresponding passing loop.

Then it goes on to say:

> An Up train is usually diverted via the common loop
> on to the Down line only in the event of emergencies.
> Apparently there was none in today?s case. The
> responsibility of the station master of Panjipara
> is also being reflected upon because the cableman
> and switchman got the first alert of the approaching
> Brahmaputra Mail from him. Did his signal come too
> late by which time the Awadh-Assam Express had already
> been slated for the Up line?

This one really confuses me. If the Brahmaputra Mail was heading towards
Delhi, it was heading South/Down, how could it pass Panjipara before it
passes Gaisal? I thought the order of stations from Kishanganj heading
North/Up was Panjipara, Ikarchhala, Gaisal, Gunjaria, Alubari Rd.. (Well
those were the MG stations on the Assam Rail Link, and the BG line
parallels that alignment in this area. I had travelled on the MG line
through this area several times way back when).

I guess it is time for me to go home and hunt out my trusted Bradshaw
and see if my memory is at fault or the newspaper reporter.

Regards,

Jishnu.

From: S.B.Mehta <>

Subject: Re: Alang Shipbreaking Yard.

Date: 02 Aug 1999 19:05:45 -0500


Alang is situated on the coast of Saurashtra (formerly Kathiawad)
roughly 65 kms away from Bhavnagar. You can fly down to Bhavnagar
from Mumbai (40 minutes) and complete the journey by road.

The reason for photography not being allowed is not to publicise the
conditions that prevail over there. Many magazines as well as
newspapers have already moaned over the lack of civic amenities and
the harrowing conditions of the workers at Alang. The health hazards
are high considering that ships containing hazardous chemicals, toxic
wastes (the residue) are also torn down with fatal results to the
workers who are not given any sort of protective clothing or
pecuniary posthumous benefits.

Anyway, a visit is a must.

Sarosh

From: S Pai <>

Subject: Re: More Train Crash Updates

Date: 02 Aug 1999 19:44:35 -0500



> This must the the worst mishap on the IR since the inception of
railways
> in India: I have never heard of the toll going more than 250 odd.

Sadly, you're wrong, Shankar. There was the accident in 1995 that killed
some 350 or so people -- a superfast that rammed into an express that
had
stopped near Ferozabad because it had hit something (human error all
around). And then of course there was the case of the train that fell
into
a river from a bridge due to high winds in 1981 (in Bihar) which killed
800
or so, but perhaps you were thinking only of collisions.

Here is a list of recent train disasters around the world, from CNN:

<A HREF="http://cnn.com/WORLD/asiapcf/9908/02/BC-CRASH-INDIA-CHRONOLOGY.reut/inde">http://cnn.com/WORLD/asiapcf/9908/02/BC-CRASH-INDIA-CHRONOLOGY.reut/inde</A>
x.html

--Satish

From: S.Shankar <>

Subject: Re: New Web Page

Date: 02 Aug 1999 20:49:49 -0500


Hello
Pathetic, but the toll is much much more than 190.
The official figure is 500 dead with over 1000 injured.
I guess the actual will be much more than that.
Best regards.
Shankar



Steven Sliwka wrote:
>
> I guess I can rule out that possibility. My friends wanted me to
contact
> someone in India to see if they could get pictures of a particular
ship
> being dismantled.
>
> I had just got pictures of an Indian ship out of Mumbai named the Lok
> Rajeshwari. Does anyone know if that name has a particular meaning?
>
> About the train crash, our National NBC News has reported that at
least 190
> dead with another 300 injured. What a mess! The Indian Railway
System
> given the image it is, appears to be worse than our own Amtrak system!
>
> Steve Sliwka
>
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: S.Shankar <shankie@emirates.email
> To: Steven Sliwka <sliwka@centuryinter.email
> Cc: <irfca@cs.email
> Sent: Monday, August 02, 1999 10:27 PM
> Subject: Re: New Web Page
>
> > Hello,
> > Alang is somewhere in Gujarat, I think.
> > I once had a bunch of random readers' letters (unverified, the
> > disclaimer goes) which I downloaded from the Lonely Planet
site,wherein
> > one disgruntled traveler has mentioned that photography at the ship
> > breaking yard at Alang is STRICTLY FORBIDDEN, period.
> > He then goes on to say that the restrictions seem to be tighter than
> > before etc.
> > Wonder what kind of security risk ships being broken up offer.
> > Sometimes I think the Indian head is crazy: always on the edge.
> > Will post if I manage to find that article.
> > Best regards.
> > Shankar
> >
> >
> >
> >
> > Steven Sliwka wrote:
> > >
> > > A US railroad, Norfolk Southern, used to run long hood leading.
In
> fact, on
> > > most occasions they still do-at least with the locos with tall
hoods,
> but
> > > not always. The railroad even requested on their new locomotives
that
> the
> > > control stations be switched so the engineer would be on the left
side.
> > > Their locos have horns and ditch lights at both ends. NS had its
first
> and
> > > second generation locomotives built with a tall front hood. Like
your
> WDM2.
> > > Short hoods are much more common in the US than in India.
> > >
> > > A question for my Indian friends, where is Alang? There is a ship
> scrapyard
> > > there, and I was just wondering where it is. How hard is it to
get
> pictures
> > > there? I am a big fan of Great Lakes Ships, and my friends want
to know
> > > where it is. Come visit my page I spend more time at than any
other
> place
> > > www.boatnerd.com Every night I chat with other 'boatnerds' about
> ships.
> > >
> > > But Indian Railways is still a favourite subject in my mind.
> > >
> > > Steve Sliwka
> > >
> > > ----- Original Message -----
> > > From: S.Shankar <shankie@emirates.email
> > > To: <clzeni@mindspring.email
> > > Cc: <irfca@cs.email
> > > Sent: Monday, August 02, 1999 8:32 PM
> > > Subject: Re: New Web Page
> > >
> > > > Hello Crig,
> > > > Quite interesting.
> > > > I could not understand pic 1 though. Looks like a diesel with
the long
> > > > hood leading, but I cannot see any driver's cab. Is it one of
those
> > > > helper units?
> > > > Which brings me to another point: do US engines ever run with
the long
> > > > hood leading? I know someone had posted a few pics of them, but
they
> are
> > > > about the only ones I have seen so far.
> > > > In India, you can almost assume it is 50-50: if the train runs
from A
> to
> > > > B with its short hood leading, you can safely assume it will
return
> with
> > > > the long hood leading, except in rare occasions when the engine
is
> > > > turned.
> > > > Best regards.
> > > > Shankar
> > > >
> > > >
> > > >
> > > >
> > > > C.L.Zeni wrote:
> > > > >
> > > > > As long as everybody is announcing new web pages, I thought
I'd put
> in a
> > > > > word for mine. I regret that it's not got Indian photos;
however it
> > > > > does have roof views of a number of US diesels. See the page
at
> > > > >
> > > > > <A HREF="http://www.mindspring.com/~clzeni/rm/roofermadness.html">http://www.mindspring.com/~clzeni/rm/roofermadness.html</A>
> > > > > --
> > > > > Craig Zeni - REPLY TO -->> clzeni at mindspring dot
com
> > > > > <A HREF="http://www.mindspring.com/~clzeni/index.html">http://www.mindspring.com/~clzeni/index.html</A>
> > > > >
> > > > > The Sixties ain't over till the Fat Lady gets high. -
J.
> Garcia
> > > >
> >

From: Jayant S <>

Subject: Gaisal Accident: Queries

Date: 02 Aug 1999 21:13:26 -0500


The magnitude of this disaster is appalling. We may
have lost more servicemen in moments than we did during
the entire Kargil action.

After reading every available report on the accident,
I have an unclear picture of the circumstances, which
makes for some questions.

Apparently the section is double-tracked, but what is
the signalling method there ? Used to be mechanical
(lower-quadrant) a few years ago, but is it electrical
now ? If so, where is the main control ? This rumour of
"signal failure" needs to be examined, as signals are
supposed to fail safe (switch to danger if malfunctioning),
whether mechanical or colour-light. It has also been
speculated that one of the drivers may have jumped a
danger signal (difficult to determine as both locomotive
crews are dead). But the prime question has to be: why
was one of the trains moving on the wrong side line
in the first place ? Possible error a few stations
along the line ?

It is also not clear whether both trains were moving,
or whether one was stopped to allow the other to pass
(possible if one track was out of use). In which case,
it would be the Gailsal station staff that was at fault,
switching the passing train on to the same track.

It is terrible that something like this has happened
even as we were discussing accident issues on this
list. While keeping the difficult jobs of Indian Railways
personnel in perspective, it is obvious that the frequency
of accidents is quite unacceptable.

--
JS
--

From: SHRINIVAS V. JOSHI <>

Subject: India train crash ...

Date: 02 Aug 1999 22:05:15 -0500




Dear Vijay,

These more frequent accidents may be because of Govt. recruiting policy
for SC/ST . Not all these people but many of them are absorbed or
promoted
just because they belong to backward classes or to fill the quota
allotted
for them. And not because of skill, qualifications.

Daily , we observe the railway workers travelling to workshops. The way
they behave, goonda nature. The corruption in workshops is very high.
They
threaten the supervisors,conduct their own businesses in working hours.
I
wonder how still the suburban trains have not met with such grave
accidents. But the day is not far away, I fear.

All these are from recent past, as the policy is to fulfill the demands
of
these sections of society, the politicians.

So, all this has socio-economic angle as well.

Shrinivas

From: Mike Brooker <>

Subject: Hell on wheels: Times of India editorial

Date: 02 Aug 1999 22:14:56 -0500


Here is the Times of India editorial on the Gaisal accident:
 
Hell on Wheels

The gruesome deaths of over 200 people and the injuries suffered by at least 400 in one of the worst rail accidents when the Brahmaputra Mail collided head-on with the Awadh-Assam Express near Jalpaiguri forces us to search the lexicon of tragedy to describe the horrific, more horrific and even more horrific. Despite the fact that the final toll is bound to be much higher, public sentiment is almost blunted by the numbing repetitiveness of such mishaps. As in the July 16 rail accident in which 18 people perished, the Union railway minister has `rushed' to the spot. The last time around, he made the profound observation that the accident was similar to past ones, a fact that no longer requires reiteration. As the cycle of obsequies and ritual breast-beating begins, rail officials and the minister owe the public an explanation for this spectacular inaction given the appalling record of safety. Virtually every month brings with it a grisly toll in rail casualties. Each has been labelled the `worst ever' of its kind and promises of strong remedial action made as the media splashes pictures of gore and grief. We have been through this endless cycle of agony -- mangled bodies, twisted metal, mourning relatives. An enquiry will, of course, be held and its findings consigned to the dusty shelves of bureaucratic apathy. Public amnesia will ensure that after the token compensation is paid to the next of kin, nothing will move until the next horror.

We can easily predict that the enquiry will come up with the well-worked phrases -- human error, mechanical failure, possible sabotage or a combination of all these disastrously compounded by the general laxity in basic safety standards. This time, after ascribing the tragedy to the ISI, it now appears that the collision was the result of signal failure. To say that the Indian railways, once our pride and glory, is now a virtual hell on wheels would be no exaggeration. Human error is indeed the biggest contributory factor to accidents, but this can be minimised only if the railways goes in for a massive modernisation programme. Efficient signalling systems which alert rail crews on the course of moving trains are the key to averting rail accidents. Numerous suggestions have been made in the past, all of them ignored by a myopic political establishment. Among these are flasher lights on the rear of trains, emergency siren systems, integrated coaches and routine checks on personnel for fitness and alertness. At least four enquiry reports are available today from past tragedies, though not one has been acted upon. To say, as some rail officials have, that the number of rail deaths is perfectly acceptable given the volume of traffic that uses the trains is unconscionable. Scarce resources have been repeatedly diverted to fund populist measures, rather than upgrade rail systems. In these circumstances, it is only a question of time before the tracks witness terror again.

********************************************************************
Mike Brooker
99 Wychcrest Ave.,
Toronto, ON  M6G 3X8
CANADA
(416) 536-7406
********************************************************************

From: VIRAF P.. MULLA <>

Subject: Re: India train crash ...

Date: 02 Aug 1999 23:04:28 -0500



> Daily , we observe the railway workers travelling to workshops. The
way
> they behave, goonda nature. The corruption in workshops is very high.
They
> threaten the supervisors,conduct their own businesses in working
hours.

Yes Shri you are 100% correct. I know of a bodybuilder in WR who just
signs the muster in the morning and works the whole day as a physical
instructor in my gym. I was happy first to have a physical instructor
who
works for the railways but alas! his knowledge about railways is ZERO.

BTW are you aware of the bomb blast in a CR LOCAL yesterday night at
Vikhroli? It seems the train had just cleared our Godrej complex when it
happened.

Viraf.

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

From: Dheeraj Sanghi <>

Subject: Re: BBC News: 200 killed in India train crash ...

Date: 02 Aug 1999 23:10:53 -0500



> This is so sad. Never before has IR witnessed such a high frequency of
> accidents with alarmingly high fatalities. Human/equipment failure
> seems to the major cause. Is IR staff being overworked?

I get the same feeling. Every other day I read in the local
newspaper about some mishap or the other blocking the Delhi-
Howrah route for a few hours. Mostly it is a goods' train so
the national dailies don't pick it up. On Sunday, it was the
grid failure in the entire UP/Delhi region which caused havoc
with train timings (of course, it was beyond IR's control).
Yesterday some goods train derailed, blocking traffic for 8 hours.

-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
Home Page: <A HREF="http://www.cse.iitk.ac.in/users/dheeraj">http://www.cse.iitk.ac.in/users/dheeraj</A>

From: Jayant S <>

Subject: Re: Hell on wheels: Times of India editorial

Date: 02 Aug 1999 23:30:34 -0500


> Mike Brooker wrote:
> Here is the Times of India editorial on the Gaisal accident:

While I agree with the editor that there is an unacceptable
increase in the number of serious accidents on IR, I am not
able to understand some of the proposed safety measures
mentioned.

> past, all of them ignored by a myopic political establishment. Among
> these are flasher lights on the rear of trains, emergency siren
> systems, integrated coaches...

Flasher lights are self-evident, but I don't get the emergency
siren (how loud would it need to be to be heard by the crew of
another oncoming train ?), and integrated coaches (if he means
integral coaches, then IR has had them for quite a long time).
Somewhat more serious and informed comment should come from the
media, if they in turn expect the railways to be transparent
regarding the results of inquiries. There haven't been too many
post-accident media analyses in India that have sounded convincing
to me, regarding the technical issues involved.

Also, it is not a mere influx of funds and technology that
is required. Given proper maintainence, semaphore signals
are not so unsafe, it is just that they require a larger
workforce. It is not totally fair to demonise IR either.
Granted, there is bureaucratic laxity, and there have to
be some on the rolls who are less than dedicated, but it
should also be remembered that IR employees, on the whole,
do very well at running a massive system in the face of
some of the worst conditions imaginable.

As for the comment that funds are typically diverted for
populist measures rather than real improvement, surely
this is to be expected as long as IR is run by the
political establishment ? How many of our railway ministers
have had any real qualification to take important decisions,
and to develop a vision for the huge undertaking IR is ?
The question here is: would IR run more safely and efficiently
if it was depoliticised ? While the political representation
of IR (it even has a special budget) can be justified on the
basis of its significant role in the social and economic
fabric of India, this principle can also be questioned
when political influence adversely affects technical
imperatives that are crucial to operation. For example,
was gauge conversion really such a priority that it took
up most of the upgrade funding rather than, say, the
introduction of AWS on main lines (which can prevent some
collisions), and introduction of track circuiting in
more sections ?
----
Just read a newsflash saying that Mr Nitish Kumar, the
Union Railway Minister, has resigned. Four coaches are
yet to be reached at the bottom of the heap. "Signal
failure" is being increasingly blamed for the crash.
It should be noted that local people, including students
from a medical college in Kishanganj, have worked round
the clock in difficult conditions assisting in rescue
operations.

--
JS
--

From: SHRINIVAS V. JOSHI <>

Subject: Bomb blast...

Date: 03 Aug 1999 01:11:13 -0500




On Tue, 3 Aug 1999, VIRAF P.. MULLA wrote:


> BTW are you aware of the bomb blast in a CR LOCAL yesterday night at
> Vikhroli? It seems the train had just cleared our Godrej complex when
it
> happened.

Yes, it happened near Vikhroli station. It was Ambernath bound local,
one
Mr. Panchal of Dombivli died later. He probably jumped off the running
train after the blast another Sardar was injured in the leg.

Shrinivas

From: Apurva Bahadur <>

Subject: Castle Rock ghat

Date: 03 Aug 1999 01:42:42 -0500


Gang !

The May issue of the Indian Railway Mag, is already here. There is a report in the railways in Goa. It says that the although the Briganza ghat section between Castle Rock and Kulem is not cleared by the Director of Safety, the SCR has implemented an Automatic Emergency Brake system which would stop the rake if the speed were to exceed 25 Kmph. RDSO has already approved this brake system and It is hoped that once the Director of Safety accepts this system, then the passenger train movement through the ghat would be possible at an early date. This is required as the catch siding is neither economical nor technically feasible.
My two bits on this subject:

Why was the gauge conversion carried out without sparing a thought for the catch sidings ? There seems to be some wishful thinking that a few lapses in the design would be overlooked once the BG starts rolling.
The safety system would work only if the brake components (blocks, cylinders, linkages etc) are in place and the control system of the AEB actually works. A catch siding by design does not require any such prerequisites. I have seen many rakes with missing brake blocks, damaged cylinders and many instances of bypassed control systems.

Your comments please

Apurva
 

From: Apurva Bahadur <>

Subject: Nitish quits !

Date: 03 Aug 1999 02:30:08 -0500


Gang !

The Indian Railway Minister, Nitish Kumar, has
announced his resignation, saying he accepted
moral
responsibility for a head-on collision between
two trains
on Monday.

from
<A HREF="http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/world/south_asia/newsid_410000/410470.s">http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/world/south_asia/newsid_410000/410470.s</A>
tm

From: John Lacey <>

Subject: accident

Date: 03 Aug 1999 04:04:25 -0500


Here is the New York Times report: thanks for sending the BBC and
others.

<A HREF="http://www.nytimes.com/library/world/asia/080399india-train.html">http://www.nytimes.com/library/world/asia/080399india-train.html</A>

John Lacey

From: Harsh Vardhan <>

Subject: Re: India train crash ...

Date: 03 Aug 1999 04:40:00 -0500


>> Daily , we observe the railway workers travelling to workshops. The
way
>> they behave, goonda nature. The corruption in workshops is very high.
They
>> threaten the supervisors,conduct their own businesses in working
hours.
>
>Yes Shri you are 100% correct. I know of a bodybuilder in WR who just
>signs the muster in the morning and works the whole day as a physical
>instructor in my gym. I was happy first to have a physical instructor
who
>works for the railways but alas! his knowledge about railways is ZERO.
>


But Viraf,
IR just like some other public sectors willingly
takes
sportsmen on their rolls. I personally feel it is a good gesture on
their
part for a sportsmen starved country. Before the big money came in even
the
cricketers used to be on rolls of IR and some banks. You may not be
aware
but Railway sportspersons account for most of the medals in any
international/national sporting event. Jyotirmayee Sikdar is just one of
them. Now please don't ask me who she is!

And a wrestler or a weightlifter(not a bodybuilder) is supposed to be
working out(officially) and not poking his nose in dusty old files.

In a country where the railway minister is not expected to come with any
qualifications or love for railways, it is grossly unfair to expect that
all
1.6 million employees would be even interested in the nitty-gritty of
the
day to day operations.
Regards,

Harsh

From: Apurva Bahadur <>

Subject: Re: ICF Article

Date: 03 Aug 1999 05:09:55 -0500


The article on ICF is very interesting and informative indeed. As per
the
article ICF has developed bogie mounted air brake system to replace the
coach
mounted system. This will ensure that the linkage between the brake
cylinder
and the wheels is short and effective. I did not know of the existence
of a
unit of the Indian Railways 'Rail Spring Factory' at Gwalior which
manufactures
45 different types of springs for the IR.
This mag (Aug 13 issue with Ambani on the cover) is a must buy for
atleast all
the members who have access to it on the newsstand.
Just a matter of interest,
A product that I have designed and currently manufacture is visible in
the
picture on page 113. The open engine room of the DEMU shows the Cummins
VTA
1710 engine, the NGEF traction alternator and the power busbars. The
engine
control panel (with the partly opened door) on top of the alternator is
designed by yours truly for Cummins India Ltd. Also visible is the blue
coloured 110 V Kerala Electric Corporation dynamo used for train
lighting and
the bifurcated exhaust pipes leading to the roof mounted silencer. The
KEC
dynamo runs whenever the engine is running. During the DEMU manufacture
the 110
V train lighting batteries are fitted later so it is common to see the
engine
ticking over so that the ventilation fans and fluorescent lamps can run
in the
hot engine room.
I think I should scan and upload this article for everyone to see.

Apurva

Jayant S wrote:

> Don Mills wrote:
> > Does Frontline has a web page. I am not familiar with that magazine
and
> > would love to see if they have the article or parts of the article
on the
> > web page.
>
> The magazine is at:
> <A HREF="http://www.the-hindu.com/fline/fl1616/fl161600.htm">http://www.the-hindu.com/fline/fl1616/fl161600.htm</A>
> but the online edition does not carry the ICF special.
>
> --
> JS
> --

From: S Pai <>

Subject: Re: BBC News: 200 killed in India train crash ...

Date: 03 Aug 1999 05:53:29 -0500



Vijay and Dheeraj wrote:

>> This is so sad. Never before has IR witnessed such a high frequency
of
>> accidents with alarmingly high fatalities. Human/equipment failure
>> seems to the major cause. Is IR staff being overworked?

> I get the same feeling. Every other day I read in the local
> newspaper about some mishap or the other blocking the Delhi-
> Howrah route for a few hours.

As with many things in India, unfortunately the system has evolved with
thought only for an increase in capacity, and is being used well beyond
planning limits, without much thought for auxiliary items such as
safety,
procedure, staff education, maintenance, etc.

I was reading the New York Times article on the train crash this
morning. Beyond the tragic facts of this accident, a phrase from the
article sticks in my mind -- the railways are described as "a
dilapidated
relic of the colonial era". Perhaps an extreme description, but there
is
certainly food for thought there. Despite all the things that we enjoy
discussing here as rail fans, all the things that make one proud of IR,
IR is still missing some crucial components. :-(

I doubt that any one cause can be pinpointed. Overworked staff are a
symptom, not the underlying cause. There is the usual interlinked
network
of problems that exists in a developing country. There is pressure for
increased capacity, funds are scarce, poverty implies that populist
measures by politicians can be really brazen, immediate "solutions" are
preferred to longer-term strategies (which lie beyond the length of any
government's tenure), and poor education feeds into and is fed by all of
these. I do not think that one can come up with any specific solution
that
will improve just the railways without these interlinked problems being
addressed as well. Anyone who glibly suggests "increase funds" or
"privatize" or "fire the officials" or "get new technology" or any such
one-off tactic in the wake of such a disaster is missing the point.

Almost every wire service or newspaper article I have read on this
disaster
has also picked up on the theme that every such accident in India
generates
a report from an inquiry committee which simply collects dust in a
filing
cabinet.

--Satish

From: S Pai <>

Subject: Re: Hell on wheels: Times of India editorial

Date: 03 Aug 1999 06:03:38 -0500



Jayant wrote:

> Also, it is not a mere influx of funds and technology that
> is required. Given proper maintainence, semaphore signals
> are not so unsafe, it is just that they require a larger
> workforce.

True! It is not that the existing technology is unworkable; it is just
that it leaves more scope for the phrase "human error" to be brought up
when things break down because of bigger problems in the system
(overutilization, staff being overworked, etc.).

Besides, one mustn't forget that every automatic device for safety can
and
will be subverted because it is inconvenient, doesn't work properly, is
hard or expensive to maintain, or hampers normal operation, etc. It is
difficult to make things really fail-safe without the full participation
and cooperation of the operational and maintenance staff.

--Satish

From: Vijay Balasubramanian <>

Subject: Re: More Train Crash Updates

Date: 03 Aug 1999 07:23:32 -0500


>> trains. The ASM operated a mechanical lever with
>> which he co-ordinated the interaction between the
>> cablemen at either end of the station. There were
>> four lines at the station and it is a mystery why
>> the Awadh-Assam Express, which was to be on the
>> Up line was diverted by the common loop to the Down
>> line today on the path of the Delhi-bound Brahmaputra
>> Mail in spite of the fact that the two trains cross
>> the station daily.
>
>This answers my earlier question. Clearly this is a double line
section,
>and Gaisal station has passing loops on both the Up and the Dn line,
>most probably with a platform between each main line and its
>corresponding passing loop.
>
>
A quick look at the Bradshaw indicates that the AA Exp. should cross
Gaisal around 4.30 pm or so
and the Up Brahmaputra Mail passes it around midnight. So looks like
the ill-fated AA exp. was
running nearly 7 hrs. late that day.


>Then it goes on to say:
>
>> An Up train is usually diverted via the common loop
>> on to the Down line only in the event of emergencies.
>> Apparently there was none in today?s case. The
>> responsibility of the station master of Panjipara
>> is also being reflected upon because the cableman
>> and switchman got the first alert of the approaching
>> Brahmaputra Mail from him. Did his signal come too
>> late by which time the Awadh-Assam Express had already
>> been slated for the Up line?
>
>This one really confuses me. If the Brahmaputra Mail was heading
towards
>Delhi, it was heading South/Down, how could it pass Panjipara before it
>passes Gaisal? I thought the order of stations from Kishanganj heading
>
>I believe the mail did not pass Panjipara at all. In all likelihood,
the
>diversion of the
>the AA exp. to the Dn line happened just after it had crossed Panjipara
(and
>was headed for Gaisal
>on the wrong line), with the points were being controlled by the
ASM/cablemen
>of this station.
>What remains to be seen is whether the switchman got the first alert
after he
>had set the points
>for the switch.
>
>Looks like the following two 'mystery' events in succession led to the
>disaster -
>1. The AA exp. was switched onto the wrong track on the path of the
Mail
>2. The outer signal at Gaisal North malfunctioned or the driver of the
Mail
>passed it at danger.
>
>Vijay

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