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From: Dr. K.J. Walker <>

Subject: Re: Bomb destroys bridge in Assam, misses train

Date: 08 Aug 1999 02:17:15 -0500


Dear Satish,
While the Indian Government is copping stick for not preventing
accidents, it might be worth saying something about sabotage, too. Not
all
saboteurs are neccessarily "dastards". People resort to violence when
they
are desperate.
As a non-Indian, I'd just comment that national governments --
Mexico,
Iraq, Turkey, Serbia, China, the list is endless -- tend to respond to
demands for even limited autonomy by "knee-jerk" reactions, such as
sending
in the troops. That's what's happening right now in Aceh, and in
Kurdistan,
they are still demanding the independence they were promised in 1917.
These
things don't go away. Just as China's running sores are Tibet and
Sinkiang,
so India's are the NEFR and Kashmir. The cost, human and economic, of
letting these areas have some autonomy, would be far less. In Kashmir's
case, I've always thought it would make an admirable independent buffer
state.
How does this affect IR? Fewer bombs, fewer unbolted rails. More
peace
of mind.
Yours for peaceful solutions
Ken Walker

-----Original Message-----
From: S Pai <s_pai@bigfoot.email
To: irfca@cs.email <irfca@cs.email
Date: 7 August 1999 6:08
Subject: Bomb destroys bridge in Assam, misses train


>
>A news article on the BBC web site says that a decoy loco at the front
>of a train (they didn't say which one) going from Delhi to Guwahati
>triggered a bomb, saving the train following behind it from plunging
>into the river as the bridge was destroyed. The train had about a
>thousand passengers on it.
>
>Excerpt:
>
> Railway officials said the Pakajani bridge between Bijni and
> Patiladaha railway stations in the Bongaigaon district was
> destroyed by a powerful explosion just after midnight. They
> said train services to north-east India have been temporarily
> disrupted.
>
>Another bomb was apparently recovered from another bridge in the area
>just a short while earlier. I suppose we can expect these dastardly
>attempts on civilians' lives in the north-east to intensify as the
>Indian Independence Day approaches in the next week. :-(
>
>Full article at:
>
<A HREF="http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/world/south_asia/newsid_414000/414113.s">http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/world/south_asia/newsid_414000/414113.s</A>
tm
>
>--Satish
>

From: Dr. K.J. Walker <>

Subject: Re: Question about Delhi and Calcutta Metros

Date: 08 Aug 1999 05:21:38 -0500


Dear Jishnu,
You raised issues concerning Metros as well as resignation of
Nitish as
Minister, not to mention rail safety.
Last Item first. Resignation of responsible Ministers is a part
of
the Westminster system of "responsible government"; so Nitish did the
"right
thing" in constitutional terms. But like so many conventions, we need to
look behind it to make sense of it. The idea behind the Minister
resigning
is that a "new broom" will take over and reorganise. Like so many things
in
the Brit system, this isn't spelt out properly. What seems to happen in
India (and, I stress, in other countries too -- I'm not India-bashing
here!)
is that the ministers play musical portfolios but nothing changes at the
administrative level.
This is important, because it's obvious that's where the changes
are
needed. It's true that the 19th Century technology still in use on parts
of
the IR system is under great pressure and needs improving. But IR was
complimented by a World Bank investigation in the 1950s for the
efficiency
and freedom from error with which they handled such huge loadings with
just
that technology. The problem, I suggest, lies in training and
discipline.
Station and signalling staff MUST be fully and properly trained in the
operation of the safeworking systems they use, and when new systems come
in
, they must be trained in those too. And not by rote: they must
undertsand
WHY safety measures, manual or automatic, are required. I don't know how
adequate IR's programmes are in this respect: comment on this group
suggests
they might be lacking. The other thing, I think, is discipline. Not the
military kind, but the kind that arises when comptent workers know their
job
and take pride in it. I suggest that discipline at present is undermined
by
IR's inability -- or unwillingness -- to fire incompetent staff. You
can't
run any operation effectively with dead wood, as the competent people
get
discouraged and slack off. And if there is political interference,
inability
to dismiss the incompetent, and suchlike, you will get dead wood.
Eventually
it costs lives. Corporatisation, as a way of removing publicly-owned
enterprises from political interference, was invented in Australia in
the
1880s, to deal with just the problems IR has today. Every so often, it
needs
re-doing.
Secondly Metros. They're very expensive, and I have never understood
why
New Delhi at least, with its wide streets, did not have a tram/light
rail
system. Cheaper, though lower in capacity, and fraught with fewer cost
problems than a dedicated undergound right of way.
Cheers
Ken Walker

-----Original Message-----
From: Jishnu Mukerji <jis@fpk.email
To: irfca@cs.email <irfca@cs.email
Date: 6 August 1999 4:34
Subject: Question about Delhi and Calcutta Metros


Folks,

Now onto more positive topics after the most depressing week resulting
from Gaisal.....

I was browsing through the Railway Gazette July 99 issue and came across
the following:

"INDIA's Ministry of Railways invited three prequalification tenders in
May for work on the 55·.3km Delhi Mass Rapid Transit metro network which
was officially launched last October (RG 9.98 p567). According to the
ministry 'all the bids are global and are open to Indian or
international
companies who can participate either individually or as a joint
venture/consortium.'

The three tenders cover civil engineering work on the tunnels and
stations, design and installation of the signalling, train control and
communications systems, and the supply of passenger rolling stock. Total
cost of the metro is put at Rs48·6bn, and completion is envisaged for
March 2005."

The 9/98 issue of the same publication had the following:

"A FORMAL go-ahead for construction of the long-planned metro network in
the Indian capital is due to be announced this month, following the
creation of the Delhi Metro Rail Corp to manage the project. Headed by
E Sreedharan, former General Manager of the Konkan Railway Corp,
DMRC is a joint venture of the central and state governments.

The 55 km priority network includes 11 km of tunnelled route, including
machine-bored tunnels under the market area at Chandni Chowk. There will
also be 22 km of elevated route and 22 km of surface running. Peak
traffic projections are as high as 1.2 million passengers/h in a city
which has 11
million inhabitants and 28 million motor vehicles. In the longer term,
the network is expected to reach 198 km by 2021.

Contracts for civil works on the first stage were due to be awarded last
month. DMRC expects the 8 km across the Yamuna river between Shadahra
and Tis-Hazari Court to be commissioned in 2002, and the 11 km route
from Delhi University to the Central Secretariat is to be completed in
2007.

Japan's Overseas Economic Co-operation Fund has pledged US$400m towards
the metro, which will meet 56% of the cost. Another 15% will come
from the Indian government and a similar amount from the city. The rest
will be met from loans and property development revenues.

A consortium of Rail India Technical & Economic Services, Tonichi, Jarts
and Pacific Consortium of Japan, and Parsons Brinckerhoff of the USA is
undertaking detailed design studies costed at Rs48.6bn. RITES had
earlier prepared plans for a 184.5 km integrated multi-modal mass rapid
transit
system (DM91 p32) which was approved by the government in July 1994."

Do any of you have any more info on this? Exact routes, station
locations etc.?

On the Calcutta front, any news of the status of extension from
Tollygunj to New Garia?

Thanks,

Jishnu.
--
Jishnu Mukerji
Systems Architect

Email: jis@fpk.email Hewlett-Packard EIAL,
Tel: +1 973 443 7528 300 Campus Drive, 2E-62,
Fax: +1 973 443 7422 Florham Park, NJ 07932, USA.

From: HVC <>

Subject: Re: Vikhroli Bomb Blast ...

Date: 08 Aug 1999 06:31:41 -0500


Perhaps these speakers were installed after the Kandivili accident in
which
the women fearing a bomb explosion jumped out of the train which had
halted
midway.

Maybe Sunil can comment on this?

I think the PA Systems are a good idea for emergencies like these,
provided
these work when they are required to.

Harsh


>On Fri, 6 Aug 1999, S.Shankar wrote:
>
>> And what is all this about the motorman making announcements on teh
>> speakers? You mean there is actually a means for the driver to talk
to
>> his passengers? When was this system installed? Its fascinating!
>
>This facility...a sheer waste of money. The speakers were fitted some
3-4
>years ago. But hardly these are in use. Surprising, these were used
after
>the trains were halted following the blast near Vikhroli.
>
>Money must have been earned by Philips, the makers of speakers & may be
>the full system. And who knows money earned by decision making
officials
>of CR as well- who offered the contract to Philips. The speakers , so
to
>speak are collecting dust, just like fans & tube lights are. Hardly any
>wash is given from inside the compartments.
>
>Bye,
>
>Shrinivas
>
>
>

From: S Pai <>

Subject: Re: Bomb destroys bridge in Assam, misses train

Date: 08 Aug 1999 07:04:14 -0500



Ken, we can discuss this off-list, perhaps.

--Satish

From: Samit Roychoudhury <>

Subject: Fw: Stupid question about IR

Date: 08 Aug 1999 10:03:29 -0500


to keep people from falling out i think...



This may be a stupid question about Indian Railways, but coming from
America, I can't make sense of it. Why do Indian Passenger Cars have
'bars'
over the window openings? I assume they don't have windows due to the
heat,
but why the bars?

Steve Sliwka

From: Rajan Mathew <>

Subject: Fw: Question about IR - letter from Saurabh Jang

Date: 08 Aug 1999 10:09:09 -0500



----- Original Message -----
From: Saurabh Jang <saurabhj@wwa.email
To: Rajan Mathew <rajanmathew@telebot.email
Sent: Saturday, August 07, 1999 1:07 AM
Subject: Re: Question about IR


> Rajan,
>
> Thanks for your reply. I have one question:
>
> > If one observes the IR system closely, all major trunk routes from
old
times
> > were broad gauge. These were the earliest lines on the IR. Later,
cost
> > became a important consideration in railway expansion and this was
the
> > source of the metre gauge network being constructed.
>
> Does that mean that most of the existing broad gauge lines were
already
> in existence when the Birtish left? I assumed from my research that
> most of the broad gauge tracks had been laid in independent India.
>
> I am attaching a copy of the letter to the editor I sent out, could
> you post it on IRFCA list so that others may comment? It's too late
> to correct any errors now though!
>
> Saurabh
>
> Copy of Letter To The Editor of The Chicago Tribune
>
> Your article on the recent tragic train crash in India ("Collision of
trains
> in India kills hundreds, August 3") characterized India's rail system
as
> a "dilapidated relic of the colonial era". It further noted that
"accidents
> occur nearly every day on India's railways", and that "more than 400
> accidents occur every year, killing an average of 700 to 800 people".
> No doubt the reader will be left with an impression of a great
colonial
> legacy laid waste by incompetent natives. This letter is an attempt to
> correct some of these stereotypes by presenting hard facts.
>
> When India gained independence from the British, they left behind
> a fleet of aging steam locomotives, outdated freight cars with
> inadequate capacity, and about 33,000 miles of track, mostly
> of the meter and narrow gauge type. Since that time, the Indian
Railways
> has increased the track miles to 40,000, and has converted 25,000
> miles of track to a wider broad gauge standard. This post-independence
> broad gauge network was constructed with an eye toward economies in
> freight movement and now carries 95% of freight traffic and 89% of
> passenger traffic. Steam locomotives have been replaced with more
efficient
> diesel and electric locomotives, and the number of wagons and coaches
> has more than doubled. A nationwide computerized reservations system
was
also
> introduced, and today it accounts for 95% of the tickets booked.
>
> While the statistic of 700 to 800 fatalities each year in Indian train
accidentsmight seem rather high, as a measure of comparison, in the US,
which transports
> only a tenth of the passenger volume as India, the number of
fatalities
> involving trains is nearly half as much. In 1998, American railroads
had
168
> train collisions, 1,757 train derailments and 3,508 train-vehicle
collisions
> which resulted in 435 fatalities (admittedly, only 4 of these involved
> train passengers). As a matter of fact, there is a distinct downward
trend
in
> the number of accidents (thought not in the number of fatalities) in
the
Indian
> rail system. In 1960-61 there were 2,131 accidents while in 1997-98
the
number
> of accidents had gone down to 396.
>
> No doubt, as a growing economy places increasing load on the rail
system,
the
> Indian Railways is facing significant challenges in enhancing
passenger
> safety. However, to characterize the current system as a "colonial
relic"
> is grossly unfair.
>
>
> Saurabh Jang
> Schaumburg, Illinois

From: Dheeraj Sanghi <>

Subject: Re: Accident Views

Date: 08 Aug 1999 10:17:50 -0500


Before I respond to the following mail, let me mention
another report in the local newspaper today (Dainik Jagaran).
It reports another close call. One freight train at a
station, another freight train allowed to come on the same
line from the opposite direction. Again the driver is careful,
notices the train from a distance and is able to stop in time.
This happened at some place in UP, I forget the name.

Reading such incidents in Dainik Jagaran so frequently, I have
a feeling that Gaisal was an accident waiting to happen.

In case of air travel, a near miss is counted as an accident,
an enquiry is setup, and all the process is followed.
Is "near miss" counted in the accident statistics by IR?
Does anyone get punished for such lapses.
(I guess I should first ask whether anyone get punished for major
accidents.)


Now to the email from JS.


> because IR is doing a fine job against heavy odds.

IR is doing fine job only when you compare it with other govt.
departments, and what is happening in the other transportation
sectors (particularly road, both private and public).

But there are millions of things that IR can do despite these
odds to improve performance.


> I have been quite annoyed by irresponsible press reports from the
> Indian press as well, which imply that IR has deliberately been
> witholding "advanced life-saving technologies" for sinister
> reasons of its own, etc etc.

Well, most reports seem to be suggesting that reasons are political.
Introducing more trains, laying tracks in remote areas where there
isn't much traffic, etc., is considered more important than safety
related expenses. And we have been saying pretty much the same
thing on this list. Why does it annoy you when someone "outsider"
says the same thing. Or do you feel annoyed at IRFCAites also.


> BBC pointed out that the statistical risk of loss of life
> travelling on IR is actually less than on the railways of Europe,
> but such facts get lost in the post-disaster cacaphony.

I doubt those numbers. Officially only 280 people died in
Gaisal. Do I believe this. Certainly no. When the last sleeper
or second class coach was cut open 3 days after the accident,
they claimed only 20 more bodies were found. Am I supposed to
believe that there were only 20 passengers in that coach, or if
there were more somehow they survived for three days inside that
coach. How come media is not telling us about the survivors.
Some newspapers are speculating that the dead could be anywhere
between 500 and 1000. I would say we should double the number
of deaths reported by IR for any meaningful comparison.

Also, the comparison is unfair. When one says that IR carries
10 million passengers in a day, and 5 die in day, that is, the
probability is 1 in 2 million. Fairly low, one would say. But
suburban transportation everywhere is hugely safe. Compare the
inter-city passenger traffic on IR and inter-city passenger
traffic on other railways, and put a more realistic figure of
the casualities in accidents, and I doubt if IR would still
come out ahead. And further if you compare trains at similar
speeds (lower speed trains should have lower casualities
in an accident), the figures would look even worse for IR.


> If IR refrains from making inquiry reports public, it is because
> it fears litigation launched by poorly informed do-gooders.

If this was not part of a serious discussion, I would have
commended your sense of humour.

IR mostly junks those reports. If they were to be made public,
then someone is going to ask "what action did you take".
IR would have to be more responsible.

There was a recent newspaper report regarding people found guilty in
a CRS enquiry. In rare cases, where CRS names specific individuals
responsible for an accident, IR only suspends these individuals
for 6 months. (And unlike other govt departments where suspended
individual gets half the salary, IR gives them full salary.) In these
six months, there is an internal departmental enquiry, which usually
says that the evidence is not strong enough, and the person is back
into active duty after a paid vacation, ready to kill more people.

If this is what has to be done at the end, why waste money by
conducting enquiries.


> In my opinion, IR does not even begin to enter into
> the kind of killer class which is honourably occupied
> by the Indian road system.

IR is far safer/better/... than the Indian road system.
So what. It is like saying that the current political
setup in the country is better than dictatorship.
Yes, but it is still unsatisfactory.

-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: S Pai <>

Subject: Re: Stupid question about IR

Date: 08 Aug 1999 10:35:30 -0500



Steve Sliwka wrote:

> This may be a stupid question about Indian Railways, but coming from
> America, I can't make sense of it. Why do Indian Passenger Cars have
> 'bars' over the window openings? I assume they don't have windows due
> to the heat, but why the bars?

Two reasons: 1) to limit theft from outside (even with the bars there
are many cases of people's briefcases, necklaces or other personal
effects, etc. being grabbed from outside when the train has halted at
a station, especially at night -- hence the sturdy metal shutters
provided in addition to the sliding glass pane),

and 2) to prevent large-scale movement in and out of the coaches of
people and luggage through the windows. Don't laugh, but before the
current style of barred windows became common (and even now if you can
find the coaches that have unbarred, "open" windows) it was a common
sight to see people rushing in through the windows in an attempt to
secure a seat ahead of the crowd that was mobbing the doors on either
side. On unreserved coaches, that was what you had to do in order to
get a seat. And of course, it was also a convenient way to get your
"holdall" and mattresses and the "kitbag" with the week's supply of
food and snacks into the compartment. Why navigate through the entire
length of the coach with your bulky belongings if you could reach your
compartment directly? Also, the throughput is higher because more
people can get in simultaneously -- very efficient. In the computer
world this advanced concept is known as "parallel processing". :-)
These
days you don't see as much of this, though. Where are the unbarred
windows these days on IR? (I mean other than the AC coaches.)

I can think of a third reason -- to prevent toddlers from falling out
or those leaning out from getting hurt.

You're right, closed glass windows as found on most railways around
the world obviate the need for the bars, and are probably safer in
that they can provide emergency exits in the case of a disaster,
however,
you can't have closed glass windows in India without air-conditioning
as it would be unbearable with the heat of summer. And as you know
air-conditioning is a luxury, not the rule, on Indian trains.

Regards,

--Satish

From: S.Shankar <>

Subject: emu enigma

Date: 08 Aug 1999 14:23:35 -0500


Hello,

I'm pleased to announce that my emu page is now ready: emu enigma.

Check it out at:

<A HREF="http://www.geocities.com/TheTropics/Coast/9896/index.htm">http://www.geocities.com/TheTropics/Coast/9896/index.htm</A>

Find emu enigma on the list, then click on the url to view the page.

Skip the history section if you are not interested in b/w prints of a
very poor quality, scanned from historical books.

You will find the best photographs in the ac emu section.

Enjoy!

Best regards.

Shankar

From: HVC <>

Subject: Window bars(was :Re: Stupid question about IR).

Date: 08 Aug 1999 14:28:20 -0500


Just for the info of the uninitiated :-

Some stock of unreserved coaches on MG and also on both NGs comes
without
window grills. Some coaches of BG also have a central window without
bars
for emergency entry/exit.

>Two reasons: 1) to limit theft from outside (even with the bars there
>are many cases of people's briefcases, necklaces or other personal
>effects, etc. being grabbed from outside when the train has halted at
>a station, especially at night -- hence the sturdy metal shutters
>provided in addition to the sliding glass pane),


Al shutters are also meant for protection from the rains and duststorms
without choking yourself. And for protection from wild children who get
pleasure in throwing stones and smashing your heads.

>and 2) to prevent large-scale movement in and out of the coaches of
>people and luggage through the windows. Don't laugh, but before the
>current style of barred windows became common (and even now if you can
>find the coaches that have unbarred, "open" windows) it was a common
>sight to see people rushing in through the windows in an attempt to
>secure a seat ahead of the crowd that was mobbing the doors on either
>side. On unreserved coaches, that was what you had to do in order to
>get a seat. And of course, it was also a convenient way to get your
>"holdall" and mattresses and the "kitbag" with the week's supply of
>food and snacks into the compartment.

Oh yes, I remember regularly getting thrown into MG passengers to block
the
seats by luggage till the biggies could manage to come in through the
door.

>I can think of a third reason -- to prevent toddlers from falling out
>or those leaning out from getting hurt.


Maybe the idea was also to prevent people from sitting on the windows
which
is certainly more dangerous than sitting/standing on the doors. If you
have
noticed, the grills on the window of the doors are actually placed
closer
than those on other windows.

Harsh

From: HVC <>

Subject: Re: Accident Views

Date: 08 Aug 1999 15:14:47 -0500



>Before I respond to the following mail, let me mention
>another report in the local newspaper today (Dainik Jagaran).
>It reports another close call. One freight train at a
>station, another freight train allowed to come on the same
>line from the opposite direction. Again the driver is careful,
>notices the train from a distance and is able to stop in time.
>This happened at some place in UP, I forget the name.
>


How, how , how? Iam keen to know how two trains on a single /double
line,
token/otherwise worked section can come face to face?
Iam not disputing this report or the fact that there is too much
complacency
in the system on the safety aspect, but I still feel that Gaisal type
head-on collision is very rare. Can't recall any other except the A.P.
Exp. - Goods train collision at Agra in the early eighties. But then
there
was a heavy fog and the goods driver had jumped the signal.

>In case of air travel, a near miss is counted as an accident,
>an enquiry is setup, and all the process is followed.
>Is "near miss" counted in the accident statistics by IR?
>Does anyone get punished for such lapses.
>(I guess I should first ask whether anyone get punished for major
accidents.)


Oh yes, he junior staff frequently gets the boot for all mishaps but
that's
usually it and it makes everyone happy and content till the next
incident.

>I doubt those numbers. Officially only 280 people died in
>Gaisal. Do I believe this. Certainly no. When the last sleeper
>or second class coach was cut open 3 days after the accident,
>they claimed only 20 more bodies were found. Am I supposed to
>believe that there were only 20 passengers in that coach, or if
>there were more somehow they survived for three days inside that
>coach. How come media is not telling us about the survivors.
>Some newspapers are speculating that the dead could be anywhere
>between 500 and 1000. I would say we should double the number
>of deaths reported by IR for any meaningful comparison.
>


They day only 20 odd people start travelling in the unreserved coaches
on
IR, I will stop wasting my money on reservation, AC etc. It will be
still
worthwhile even if I will have to defy the one in million chance of
being
involved in a collision!

The Sitamarhi disaster in which the whole train got washed away in flash
floods had an official toll of 800. Some reports suggested 2000+. Since
I
have myself seen the trains in this area, I have every reason to believe
the
latter figure. Three coaches were never recovered in this accident!

The accident has now been widely attributed to a storm taking the train
off
the bridge. Incidentally, another story that was doing rounds in those
days
was that a deaf farmer was going over the viaduct with his buffalo when
this
train came from behind. The driver honked but only the buffalo could
listen.
Finally the driver panicked and applied emergency brakes and the whole
train
went down. Now, that's quite possible in Bihar!


>IR mostly junks those reports. If they were to be made public,
>then someone is going to ask "what action did you take".
>IR would have to be more responsible.
>

Following the Khanna accident involving the Frontier mail, the entire
track
length was checked by MTRC and 100 fractures were found in the Delhi -
Ambala section, repair of which held up the traffic for nearly a week.
The
excuse given was that a loco with a defective wheelset had passed over
causing these. The CCRS indicted the office of NR CME office and came
down
heavily on the local PWI for the derailment cum collision. However the
railway board decided the overrule the judgement.
Recently when Nitish Kumar was asked why he did so, he maintained that
it
was the board's unanimous decision and he just signed on the dotted
lines(like a good boy).

I would have liked to see Nitish Kumar resign for this accident when he
was
not a part of caretaker govt. with elections on head.
And what about the moral responsibility of the railwaymen involved?
It is clear that if the railway employees were doing the same gimmickry
as
politicians, it may well be taken as an evidence of their guilt but the
politicians have no such liability. And nobody to answer!

Harsh

From: Vdate <>

Subject: Re: Stupid question about IR

Date: 08 Aug 1999 15:21:41 -0500


In early post independence days the spacing between the bars used to be
seven
inches. And then it happened. One VIP, Mr. Gadgil from Pune, who was
the
member of the parliament in the fifties (I don't recall if he was also
the
railway minister) was robbed while traveling in a first class
compartment.
The culprit was caught and he demonstrated how he had crept thru the
bars.
The space between the bars was then reduced to the current one. Who
says the
railways donot learn from the experience!

From: HVC <>

Subject: Gaisal Accident(WAS : Re: Question about Delhi and Calcutta Metros).

Date: 08 Aug 1999 16:03:22 -0500


> This is important, because it's obvious that's where the
changes
are
>needed. It's true that the 19th Century technology still in use on
parts of
>the IR system is under great pressure and needs improving. But IR was
>complimented by a World Bank investigation in the 1950s for the
efficiency
>and freedom from error with which they handled such huge loadings with
just
>that technology. The problem, I suggest, lies in training and
discipline.
>Station and signalling staff MUST be fully and properly trained in the
>operation of the safeworking systems they use, and when new systems
come in
>, they must be trained in those too. And not by rote: they must
undertsand
>WHY safety measures, manual or automatic, are required. I don't know
how
>adequate IR's programmes are in this respect: comment on this group
suggests
>they might be lacking. The other thing, I think, is discipline. Not the
>military kind, but the kind that arises when comptent workers know
their
job
>and take pride in it. I suggest that discipline at present is
undermined by
>IR's inability -- or unwillingness -- to fire incompetent staff. You
can't
>run any operation effectively with dead wood, as the competent people
get
>discouraged and slack off. And if there is political interference,
inability
>to dismiss the incompetent, and suchlike, you will get dead wood.
Eventually
>it costs lives. Corporatisation, as a way of removing publicly-owned
>enterprises from political interference, was invented in Australia in
the
>1880s, to deal with just the problems IR has today. Every so often, it
needs
>re-doing.


I'll second that whole heartedly.

Harsh

From: HVC <>

Subject: Re: Bomb destroys bridge in Assam, misses train

Date: 08 Aug 1999 16:16:57 -0500



> While the Indian Government is copping stick for not preventing
>accidents, it might be worth saying something about sabotage, too. Not
all
>saboteurs are neccessarily "dastards". People resort to violence when
they
>are desperate.


Is is some attempt to justify killings of innocent people just to make a
point to the jokers who occupy the political seat in Delhi. If so the
next
logical step would be to tie the saboteurs to the tracks and mow them
down.
No, actually that would too too fast a death!

> As a non-Indian, I'd just comment that national governments --
Mexico,
>Iraq, Turkey, Serbia, China, the list is endless -- tend to respond to
>demands for even limited autonomy by "knee-jerk" reactions, such as
sending
>in the troops. That's what's happening right now in Aceh, and in
Kurdistan,
>they are still demanding the independence they were promised in 1917.
These
>things don't go away. Just as China's running sores are Tibet and
Sinkiang,
>so India's are the NEFR and Kashmir. The cost, human and economic, of
>letting these areas have some autonomy, would be far less. In Kashmir's
>case, I've always thought it would make an admirable independent buffer
>state.


Oh! Well, Why not just simply give it back again to the Brits instead?

Harsh

From: Jayant S <>

Subject: Re: Sitamarhi Disaster

Date: 08 Aug 1999 20:22:17 -0500


HVC wrote:

> The Sitamarhi disaster............
> The accident has now been widely attributed to a storm taking the
train off
> the bridge. Incidentally, another story that was doing rounds in those
days
> was that a deaf farmer was going over the viaduct with his buffalo
when this
> train came from behind. The driver honked but only the buffalo could
listen.
> Finally the driver panicked and applied emergency brakes and the whole
train
> went down. Now, that's quite possible in Bihar!

I read an extended version of this in 1981, when the
accident occurred. Apparently, the emergency braking that
was resorted to when the buffalo was sighted on the tracks
caused a crash because only the loco was braked. Staff on
local trains in Bihar at that time followed the (illegal)
practice of disabling the continuous brake, due to the
frequent chian pulling. I can imagine the consequences
of sharply applying the loco brake only, on a bridge,
with an overloaded train in a storm: you get the worst
railway accident in history.
--
JS
--

From: Dwarikesh Goswami <>

Subject: Fw: 'Other' line discussions

Date: 08 Aug 1999 22:56:25 -0500



----- Original Message -----
From: Dwarikesh Goswami <dgoswami@bom6.email
To: Anand Krishnan <krish_nand@hotmail.email
Sent: Friday, August 06, 1999 9:21 PM
Subject: Re: 'Other' line discussions


> Hi all,
>
> Is the track at Gaisal double line or twin single line ? Bcoz in
twin
> single line system trains regularly travel on the 'wrong track'.
Certain
> sections of the Vadodara-Godhra section are twin single line and I
have
seen
> the Dn Paschim Express travelling on the Up line quiet a few times and
that
> too at a good speed.So if the track at Gaisal is twin single line then
the
> switching of the AA Exp. on the opposite track at Kishangunj could be
> routine and not accidental.
>
> Regards,
> Chinmay Goswami
> Surat.
>
>
>
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: Anand Krishnan <krish_nand@hotmail.email
> To: <raymond/Polaris@polaris.email <irfca@cs.email
> Sent: Thursday, August 05, 1999 7:26 PM
> Subject: 'Other' line discussions
>
>
> > HI all,
> >
> > >This was in
> > >1989 or so.
> >
> > Nice to see a lot of discussions as an aftermath of Gaisal
disaster,
> > especially the one being done on how proper it is for a train to go
on
the
> > 'other' line. I too wish to give an example here how careful the
railways
> > were[for a change] in dealing with an incident that took place last
year
> in
> > TN.
> > I was travelling by the 2760Up and it made an unusual halt at a
place
> called
> > Elavur which is the next station to Gummadipoondi on the MAS-Gudur
line.
> We
> > came to know that the loco of the Jaipur Exp that our train
followed
had
> a
> > short circuit and caught fire 5 km ahead from this station. As soon
as
the
> > fire engines has come to the spot(20-30 min] form Gummidipoondi and
> Sulurpet
> > there was a call that said that the main line power was being shut
down
> and
> > off went the power. It was shut down for almost 2 hours. This even
led
to
> > our WAP4 driver pleading for the power to be restored as his guage
kept
> > dipping consistently and he said to the SM "If u do not restore
power in
> > another 30 min, please arrange for another spare loco along with
that
for
> > the Jaipur Exp.". But the station master refused and said that those
were
> > the rules to be followed in the event of a fire mishap and he seemed
very
> > logical too. Then after almost 6 hour detainment and after the
driver of
> the
> > TVC Raj also gave a o.k for the route[his train was the first to be
let
on
> > the only other line available line] he lent a chit from the Station
master
> > from the next station Arambakkam who gave him a caution order for
our
loco
> > driver, the home was still red but we were let on the 'other' line
after
a
> > hand held green from the station master. the whole stretch of 6 k.m
was
> > crossed at 25kmph max. We were restored to our original track at the
next
> > station, but were given a green only after a danger for 2 min, so
that
> > things were in place before they started allowing the trains.
> > It was even more important to do it this way as train of the likes
of
G.T,
> > T.N, Howrah mail were all following and detained at subsequent
stations
> and
> > there were trains like RaptiSagar that were going towards Chennai.
Though
> it
> > did cause a very long delay it should be complimented that the
safety
> > procedures were followed.
> >
> > Kind regards,
> > Anand
> >
> >
> > ______________________________________________________
> > Get Your Private, Free Email at <A HREF="http://www.hotmail.com">http://www.hotmail.com</A>
> >
>

From: Apurva Bahadur <>

Subject: Re: Stupid question about IR

Date: 08 Aug 1999 22:56:46 -0500


From the looks of it, the windows must have bars AND a wire mesh to keep out stones pelted by bystanders. Those were the days, when one could push half the body out of the coach and watch the loco taking the curves.

Apurva

Steven Sliwka wrote:

This may be a stupid question about Indian Railways, but coming from America, I can't make sense of it.  Why do Indian Passenger Cars have 'bars' over the window openings?  I assume they don't have windows due to the heat, but why the bars? Steve Sliwka

From: Apurva Bahadur <>

Subject: Deccan Queen derails

Date: 08 Aug 1999 23:04:46 -0500


Gang !

The pride of Central Railway, Mumbai division derailed on
Sunday. This happened while descending the Bhore ghats while
traveling towards Mumbai from Pune. There have been heavy
heavy rains in the ghats which caused a landslide. The debris
from the landslide derailed the loco (WCAM 3 I presume) and
three coaches. Most of the passengers trekked 4 Kms to Monkey
Hill where the Pune - Karjat passenger rescued them, also some
passengers returned to Pune by the Mumbai - Bangalore Udyan
Express. For the passengers who chose to wait in the Deccan
Queen rake, it was a good 8 hours before rescue. Heavy rain
and lack of communications made things difficult. Even
passengers who had cell phones with them found that although
they could call out, the remote location of the site meant
that they had to wait for the railways to rescue them.

Apurva

From: Apurva Bahadur <>

Subject: Re: Vikhroli Bomb Blast ...

Date: 08 Aug 1999 23:19:51 -0500


I remember seeing the Phillips speaker in newer day coaches such as the
Deccan
Queen and Pragat Express. I think this is a standard fitment from ICF/
RCF
rather than an afterthought. Next time I will try and locate the
termination
point for the speakers in the end of the coaches.

Apurva

HVC wrote:

> Perhaps these speakers were installed after the Kandivili accident in
which
> the women fearing a bomb explosion jumped out of the train which had
halted
> midway.
>
> Maybe Sunil can comment on this?
>
> I think the PA Systems are a good idea for emergencies like these,
provided
> these work when they are required to.

From: Apurva Bahadur <>

Subject: [Fwd: INDIAN STEAM

Date: 08 Aug 1999 23:20:34 -0500


Hello Erik,

I am forwarding your queries to the Indian Railway Fan Club
Association (IRFCA) where we have quite a collection of Indian
Railway experts who can perhaps give a more cohesive and
balanced reply. I would invite you to join the IRFCA, details
on how to do so are on my website:
<A HREF="http://members.tripod.com/ApuB/">http://members.tripod.com/ApuB/</A>

Watch out for 130 + more pictures of Wankaner / Morbi trip in
the coming few days on my website.
Apurva

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