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From: Dheeraj Sanghi <dheeraj@cs.email

Subject: Conversion schemes.

Date: 21 May 1992 13:25:00 -0500


> The new board chairman, Dr. Y.P. Anand, announced that the following
> will be converted during 1992-93.
> My comments
> Delhi-Rewari A good start, but it means that all trains from
> Delhi to Rajasthan side will start from Rewari
> as Delhi will have no MG.


I am sure Ajai and Vijay must be surprised that I have not commented
on this piece of information yet, especially since so many times, I
have told them that this is my favorite project. Well, I think, in the
first phase, they should convert Delhi-Gurgaon line to BG and make it
4 lines. The way people are settling in Gurgaon (because of loose land-
ceiling act in Haryana etc.) there will be a need to move all these
hundreds of thousands of people between Delhi and Gurgaon every day.
The Delhi-Jaipur National Highway has become so congested between Delhi
and Gurgaon, and accidents and fatalitiles are everyday affair. There
has got to be a safer transport mechanism, and railways fit the bill.
They got to electrify the route, and run suburban services. This will be
only 20 KM of new BG tracks. Railways already own quite a bit of land
in that region (parallel to existing tracks) and the project can be
finished fairly quickly. Later they can take up gauge conversion for
the rest of the tracks (Gurgaon-Rewari, and ultimately upto Ahemdabad.

We had discussed long time ago that the gauge conversion projects are
chosen in a manner that any MG track remain connected to the rest of
the network. Conversion of Delhi-Rewari line does not cause lack
of connectivity to other MG tracks (except for a small line from Garhi
Harsaru Jn. for somewhere, which can be converted too).

I have no problems with all Rajasthan trains starting from Rewari, if
it is only for a limited period 5-7 years. If eventually, they plan to
convert major routes like Rewari-Alwar-Jaipur etc. and most trains can
again start from Delhi, it is fine with me. Also, considering the lack
of space at both Delhi Jn. and New Delhi, they should seriously think
of making Gurgaon a terminus station for most Rajasthan/Haryana bound
trains (a la Nizamuddin for South bound trains). Or if it has be in
Delhi (so that DTC, local taxis etc. can connect to it), they can
make Delhi Cantt as a terminal stn. (Right now, there is only one
train from Delhi Cantt - the Palace on Wheels.)


> Lalgarh (Bikaner)-Merta Road
> Part of Kandla-Bathinda project.

I thought that they were planning on another corporation similar to
Konkan Railway corporation with financing raised from state govts
and public borrowing. Last year, there was apprehension on this list
that this project will never come about since the state govts involved
are too busy fighting each other. (Or was it some other BG line
between Gujarat and Punjab ? I must be getting old, can's remember
things well.)


One question about the news report. It says that the sections will
be converted during 92-93. I guess that means that the work will start
in 92-93. They can't finish all the proposed conversions in a year.


-dheeraj

From: Ajai Banarji <banarji@unixg.email

Subject:

Date: 26 May 1992 11:21:00 -0500


SOME RAILWAY STATISTICS

(From an article in Hindustan Times)

The "Operating Ratio" is a key indicator of a railway unit's profitability.
This is the ratio of the Gross Traffic receipts (GTR) over the Total
Working Expenses (TWE). Clearly, the lower this ratio is the better is
the units performance. Here are the figures for the ratio and GTR for the
zones:
ZONE OPERATING RATIO (%) GTR (Rs Crores)

NE 151.6 509
NF 178.2 377
SR 115.8 1055
SC 86.1
WR 72.9 2430
NR 86.0 2611
ER 100.4 1831
CR 72.6
SE 75.0 2769

We can see that the most profitable zone is CR closely followed by WR.
SE, NR and SC are also profitable, while ER is at the breakeven point.
SR, NE and NF are loss-making.
One can draw several conclusions from this. The zones with a large
proportion of MG lines are the least profitable. As NF has the maximum
proprtion of metre gauge, it is the most unprofitable. Although WR and SC
have a fair amount of MG mileage, their main BG lines are electrified and
this brings better returns. SE and CR are almost exclusively BG (but with
a small amount of NG) so their results are better. The only zone which
goes against the trend is ER which is almost entirely BG-apparently though
it loads a lot of coal, most of the coal traffic runs on the other zones
so the revenue doesn't go to ER.
Also note the huge disparity between the revenues of the different zones.
The revenues if NE and NF are less than one-fifth of that of the bigger zones.
Anyway, it appears that the Railway Board have come to the conclusion that
metre gauge operation is inherently unprofitable. They worked out an average
operating ratio of about 170% for MG and 60% for BG. This may have convinced
them of the need to go in for large-scale conversion to broad gauge. This,
coupled with more electrification, should improve the railway's profitability
in the years to come.

From: Dheeraj Sanghi <dheeraj@cs.email

Subject:

Date: 26 May 1992 17:33:00 -0500


> Anyway, it appears that the Railway Board have come to the conclusion
> that metre gauge operation is inherently unprofitable.


I think that MG is not inherently unprofitable, but there are other
factors contributing to its being in the state it is in.

Firstly, consider the history of railways. To begin with, all tracks
were BG. People invested in those railway companies which were going
to connect places with high enough demand from govt (goods, military)
or public. When MG tracks were allowed, they connected those places
where the demand was low. Clearly, some of the demand metrics have
changed over the last century, but may be some has not.

Secondly, Railways has always shied away from investing in MG routes.
There are no major routes which are double tracked. Other than
a few KM in Madras, there is no electrified MG route. They always
thought it wasteful to put money in MG network since that might have
to be changed later on because of political reasons. They still have
manual signalling, and all that old stuff.

Thirdly, there is hardly any research in higher speed locos, coaches,
etc. for MG network, which has remained a poor cousin of BG network.
Since Railways took poor care of MG network, people demanded BG
conversion. Railways became even more scared of putting in a lot of
money for MG network. People got even more frutrated, and demand for
BG increased. And so on. In the end, there were only two way outs from
this cycle. Either invest a whole lot of money to bring MG network
at par with BG network in terms of doubling of tracks, electrification,
signaling, hig-speed locos, .... OR invest a lot of money to convert
the whole network to BG. At this stage, it made sense to convert to BG
since the difference in the amount of investment can probably be
justified by economies of having only one system (ignoring NG for
the time being), and the political benefit of satisfying the short-term
concerns of people.

-dheeraj

From: aravind <aravind@vax135.email

Subject: Bangalore City Electrified ...

Date: 27 May 1992 12:28:00 -0500


(from the Deccan Herald, May 14, '92)

Bangalore, May 13:

Union Minister for Railways C.K. Jaffer Sharief will flag off the
first electric train to move out of Bangalore City on May 18.

On that day the Brindavan Express will leave for Madras drawn by an
electric locomotive.

The electrification of track from Bangalore to Jolarpet which
began in July 1989 was completed in March this year at a cost of
Rs. 50.27 crore. A trial run has been completed successfully,
according to the railway authorities.

Power will be supplied to the line by the KEB traction stations
located at Bangarpet and Whitefield.

According to the authorities, other trains from the City would
be electrified in phases, depending on the avavilability of
locomotives.

(end of report)

From: Ajai Banarji <banarji@unixg.email

Subject:

Date: 27 May 1992 09:54:00 -0500


RAILWAY STATISTICS-A CORRECTION

Sorry for an error in my previous article. The operating ratio is the
ratio of the expenses to receipts. Thus, a ratio of over 100% indicates
that the expenses are greater than the receipts and thus this zone is
unprofitable. (This also goes to show that one should be careful in
reading any report on the railways written by a non-specialist)
The article also mentioned that the average operating ratio for the
system as a whole was about 90%. It also mentioned that they expect to
convert 1000-1300 km in the current financial year-thus, they really
intend to complete all these projects in the current year.

From: VIJAYB <VIJAYB@PK705VMG.EMAIL

Subject:

Date: 27 May 1992 18:43:00 -0500


Ajai writes:
>a small amount of NG) so their results are better. The only zone which
>goes against the trend is ER which is almost entirely BG-apparently thogh
>it loads a lot of coal, most of the coal traffic runs on the other zone
>so the revenue doesn't go to ER.

Other factors contributing to the operating costs in the ER (and, thus,
increasing the operating ratio) could be theft of railway property (such
as overhead and signalling equipment), pilferage of goods trains,
excessive chain pulling, etc., all attributed to mass mismanagement in
Bihar.


When one considers revenues generated from freight traffic, zones with
lesser percentage of transhipment points would tend have a lower
operating ratio. By transhipment points, I mean stations where freight
has to be physically transferred between wagons belonging to different
gauges. This not only consumes valuable time (thus, decreasing the net
tonnage-km/year for the particular zone), but also decreases wagon
utilization and increases paperwork for maintaining proper records
of all freight-associated activity at that stn. Thus, if a particular
station has reasonable goods traffic on both its BG and MG lines that
involves transhipment (such as Ahmedabad), it makes sense to go ahead
with the conversion.


Aravind writes:
> On that day the Brindavan Express will leave for Madras drawn by an
> electric locomotive.

How about a treat, Aravind :-) Maybe, the Brindavan Exp. will now
acquire a new rake with a distinct color pattern for the coaches and
loco.


Regards,
Vijay

From: Ajai Banarji <banarji@unixg.email

Subject:

Date: 28 May 1992 11:04:00 -0500


GAUGE CONVERSIONS

Well, we are now heading for an unigauge system finally. At least our
system isn't as badly screwed up as Australia's-there they have standard
gauge, 5'3" and 3'6" in roughly equal proportions. Until 1970 there
was no through train across Australia. Until around 1960 there was no
direct train between Sydney and Melbourne, the two largest cities.
Imagine travelling from Bombay to Delhi with a break of gauge!
In general, conversions have been from MG or NG to BG. But there have
been quite a few occasions were BG was converted to MG permanently.
You may be surprised to know that places like Thanjavur and Nagapattinam
were initially on broad gauge. There are instances of BG being converted
to MG and back to BG. There is even one instance of MG being converted to
BG, then to MG and again to BG.
Incidentally, most people are under the impression that there are only
3 gauges in India. They forget that narrow gauge, though mostly 2'6",
also has a few examples of 2'0". For some time there were even odd gauges
like 4'0" and 3'6", though they were soon converted.

From: Jishnu Mukerji <jis@usl.email

Subject: Re: Random Ramblings

Date: 28 May 1992 16:14:00 -0500


Here are some random questions/thoughts.

Excerpts from personal.IRFCA: 28-May-92 Ajai Banarji@unixg.email (1099*)

> Incidentally, most people are under the impression that there are only
> 3 gauges in India. They forget that narrow gauge, though mostly
> 2'6",also has a few examples of 2'0". For some time there were even odd
> gauges like 4'0" and 3'6", though they were soon converted.

Speaking of gauges, what is the gauge of the Calcutta Tramway system? It
sure doesn't look like Broad Gauge. Is there a possibility that it is
Standard Gauge. Anyone have any definite info on that?

Also speaking of gauge conversions. Spain which used to be a mostly
Broad Gauge country is in the process of converting itself to Standard
Gauge, which they plan to do over many years. Their first venture into
Standard Gauge is the new high speed TGV (actually the Spanish call it
something else) line to Seville. The Spanish seem to consider this
important for integrating themselves into the unified EC Europe.

What is the status of the project in Iran connecting Kerman with
Zahedan? That is the last missing link in the all rail connection from
Europe to India. Of course there will be gauge break between Standard
and Broad Gauge at Zahedan. Unfortunately, due to the bizarre politics
of the region there is very little hope of any direct train service from
almost anywhere to anywhere using this link. Sigh...

Jishnu.

From: S Pai <Pai@CS.email

Subject: electrification

Date: 28 May 1992 17:21:00 -0500


Recently it was mentioned on this mailing list that the electrification of
the Madras-Bangalore route had been completed.

I believe the general feeling is that electrification is a Good Thing. Why
is this so? What are the advantages of electric locos over diesel locos?

Is it the foreign exchange aspect of burning petroleum based fuels that is
being considered? Or is there some technical advantage that is intrinsic
to electric locos? To me it seems that with the erratic nature of electricity
supply in India, electrification may cause more problems than it solves.
Further, there is doubtless far more maintenance to be done for an electrified
track than for an unelectrified one. How does this affect electrification in
remoter areas?

Is it not economically inefficient to divert electricity to public
transport (which is being subsidized) than to get people to pay for
electricity (by supplying it to urban customers)? Given the
electricity scarcity in India, it seems rather wasteful, does it not?
The same electricity will probably generate far more money if sold to
industries and the general public than to the railways. (Unless IR is
paying the same rates for the electricity as the commercial customers,
which I doubt..)

Considering just the energy aspects and not the economic factors, which
are more efficient, anyway, diesel engines or electric ones?

Just some thoughts, your comments are welcome.

Cheers,

-Satish

From: Ajai Banarji <banarji@unixg.email

Subject:

Date: 29 May 1992 10:34:00 -0500


MORE ON GAUGE CONVERSION

There was a question about the new locomotives and rolling stock to be used
when all these lines are converted to BG. As far as I could see the outlay
of 550 crores is only for the conversion. I wonder where all the new BG
locos and rolling stock will come from. Expect some cutbacks on services.
We could export our surplus metre gauge equipment to countries like
Bangladesh who should be able to utilise them.
It does not really seem to be feasible to convert MG locos and rolling
stock to broad gauge by changing axles. It is not impossible; the Maharaja
of Mysore used to have a saloon which ran on MG and BG so that His Highness
could travel undisturbed from Mysore to Madras. This saloon can be seen
at the Delhi museum. In general, there is too much difference between MG
and BG (over 2 feet) so there may be technical problems in fitting
BG axles to MG stock. However, I don't know if anyone has tried this recently.
When trains run from France to Spain, the locomotives change while the
coaches have their axles changed from standard gauge to broad gauge. The
same thing happens for trains going from Poland to Russia, as the latter
has a 5'0 gauge. The Russians chose this gauge to make it difficult for
invaders to run their trains on the Russian system. However, these two cases
involve gauge differences of 4'8.5" to 5'6" or 5'0" and there is not much
disparity compared to the BG-MG case.
The only existing lines on 2'0" gauge are
New Jalpaiguri-Darjeeling
Neral-Matheran
Gwalior-Bhind (to be replaced by BG)
Gwalior-Sheopur Kalan
Others like Ujjain-Agar and Howrah-Amta/Sheakhala closed long ago.
Regarding the odd gauges, the Nalhati-Azimganj line in northern Bengal was
built to 4'0" in 1863 and converted to BG in 1892. I don't know why they
chose this gauge as it doesn't seem to exist anywhere else. Some of their
engines were rebuilt to broad gauge; one of them, the "Ramgotty" can be
seen at the Delhi museum.
The Arkonam-Kanchipuram section was initially built as 3'6" in 1865 and
was converted to MG in 1878.

From: Ajai Banarji <banarji@unixg.email

Subject:

Date: 10 Jun 1992 10:50:00 -0500


NEWS FROM HERE AND THERE

It was nice to hear from our Bangalore correspondent about the completion
of electrification. Any news about the Mysore line conversion?
Diesel multiple units have been introduced on the Varanasi-Patna and
Varanasi-Buxar routes as a replacement for passenger trains. It was not
clear how many units were coupled together. (There used to be twin
diesel railcars on the MG lines around Kanpur in the 1970s. There also
used to be a number of BG railcars in the Vijayawada region, but they
used to run singly.)
In the same news item, it was mentioned that the pressure on the
vacuum braking system had been increased to discourage the practice of
hosepipe cutting. (It will be interesting to see what happens when
someone gets injured or killed while cutting a hosepipe.)
In Bombay, the WR has introduced limited local services which are
exclusively for women.
Suburban services from VT to Vashi have started. (Presumably these
are extensions of the Mankhurd trains.) There is a surcharge on the
tickets to cover the cost of the Thane Creek bridge. These trains will
soon be extended to the Belapur terminus. Also, a flyover is being built
near Wadala to enable through services from Vashi side to Bandra/Andheri.
It is now planned to build a link form Belapur to Panvel, which will give
a short cut from Bombay to the Konkan railway saving about 20 km.
Militants of the PWG recently caused derailments of two express
trains on the Kazipet-Balharshah section. This shows that the main
North-South route is now vulnerable to sabotage.

From: aravind <aravind@vax135.email

Subject: sabotage

Date: 10 Jun 1992 17:55:00 -0500


Ajai, do you have any more details on the sabotage of the trains north
of Kazipet? Is it getting to be a regular thing?

I've asked my folks to send me a newspaper clipping announcing the
inauguration of the Mysore-Bangalore BG link. I'll post it when I
get it...

aravind

From: VIJAYB <VIJAYB@PK705VMG.EMAIL

Subject: Elec. v/s diesel locos. (Part I)

Date: 11 Jun 1992 17:04:00 -0500


Satish writes:
>I believe the general feeling is that electrification is a Good Thing. Why
>is this so? What are the advantages of electric locos over diesel locos?

Here is some relevant material from the 1991 Oct.-Nov. issue of Indian Railways.
My comments in brackets.
Benefits of rly. electrification
--------------------------------
1. Consumption of oil and petroleum products:
Petroleum is a dwindling resource. We import about 50% of our requirement
of crude oil at a huge sacrifice of foreign exchange every year. Every drop of
diesel oil saved is that much of foreign exchanged saved. Therefore, rly.
electrification is a national necessity and priority for our survival [A rather
strong statement, I would say. Neverthless, true. However, electric traction
is more cost-effective than diesel traction only if the load on that route is
sufficiently high esp., the goods traffic.]
Diesel oil has far better uses in terms of petro-chemicals, fertilizers, etc.
to which it out to be put. This implies that wherever diesel and petrol can be
replaced by other modes of energy, the same should be exploited in global
interest.

2. Highly efficient and pollution free
Electric traction is pollution-free, efficient in haulage, has a very high-
potential for speed [e.g. the high-speed WAP3 loco.], has inexhaustible source of
power and is not affected by seasons. The electric power is produced by
consuming low-grade coal in modern thermal stations. Hence, electric traction
has a high efficiency in utilization of the natural resources.
Elec. locos have better adhesion and unit haulage. This enables
heavier train loads to be hauled at faster speeds as
compared to other modes of traction, thereby, improving the section capacity.
[e.g. a WAM4 with a rating of 3600 hp. can haul upto 24 coaches as opposed to a
2500 hp WDM2 hauling a max. of 17-18 coaches].
This results in a more intensive utilization of the already available other assets
such as permanent way, signalling systems, etc.
Electrification does not involve transport of fuel like diesel or coal and,
thus, releases the traffic potential for commercial haulage. The system is ideal
when trains with 4500-T and above are to be hauled.

3. Improved safety and reliability
Since modernization of the signalling system such as color light signalling,
& panel interlocking, and the improvement in the telecommuncation system by
providing screened underground cables, and (now-a-days) optic fibre cables, are
done simultaneously with the electrification scheme, the safety of travel and
haulage as well as the reliability of the system as a whole gets improved
considerably. This results in considerable improvement in efficiency of the
operating system.

4. Urban Service Population Dispersal
In the suburban areas, the mass transport systems get established after
electrification. This helps in dispersal of the population from the urban to
suburban areas. [Let's hope that the electrified Mankhurd-Belapur link reinforces
this point]

5. Industrial expansion
With electrification, ancilliary industries for supply of the various
materials for the project as well as for maintenance get a fillip.

6. Technological edge
With the introduction of modern locos. controlled by choppers, etc., the
advantage as well as the economies of electric traction have improved giving it a
further edge over other modes of traction. [Let's see whether the 3-phase locos.
gain popularity]

7. Export potential
Expansion of electrification in the country has improved the export
potential of this country as well as goods and services connected herewith. [Do
they mean export of locos./loco equipment/traction structures? Or is it with
regard to supervision of electrification projects abroad?]

8. Employment opportunities
Electrification also provides employment opportunities for both the
construction and the maintenance of the assets created while at the same time
improving the financial performance of the rlwy.

[The last four reasons are rather weak in the sense that they do not
indicate why electric traction should be strongly prefered over diesel traction]


In the next segment, I'll provide some info. on characteristics of electric
and diesel traction (from the book:- Advanced Rly. Operation)


Regards,
Vijay

From: Manish Malhotra <malhotra@cs.email

Subject: Steam Locos

Date: 11 Jun 1992 18:19:00 -0500


Thanks to Vijay for an informative article comparing diesel and
electric locos. If I am not mistaken, the Indian govt. is planning
to do away with steam locos by the end of the century or perhaps
earlier. The steam locos are being dismantled and the body parts
of engine are probably sold as junk metal. I want to know if the govt.
has any plans of saving a few of these locos and maintain them
in working order.

In Austria and Germany (and perhaps other European countries also)
nostalgic train journeys are organized on scenic routes. The engines
hauling these trains are as old as early 1920s and 1930s. Usually, the
trains carry only one or two coaches and even the coaches date
back to early times. As expected, the tickets for these rides are
sold months in advance. I even had a chance to meet an old man who 
regularly went on these journeys. Typically, the train leaves early in
the morning. Most of the journeys are 3-4 hour long (usually either
to some destination in the mountains or along Danube). Lunch is provided
for and the passengers are also taken for sight-seeing or to some
exhibition. The return journey is around late afternoon. Some people
who can not make it to the journey go to the railway stations in
the evening only to see the train returning.

So my point is that the Indian govt. should do the same. For the people
who love to travel by trains and enjoy the steam locos, it would be
a wonderful experience. Many old people would like to travel just
to recap the good old times. It would be a great way to get away for a
day on vacation. I am so keen on the idea that I would even write a
letter to the Indian railways authorities.

Fascination with old trains and steam engines is almost universal.
Whiel traveling in Europe, I met some British students who wanted
to go to India just to ride a train hauled by steam locos.

I hope not all steam locos are dismantled and junked simply because
the cost of maintaining them would be high and in India, it may be
considered an unaffordable luxury.

Manish

From: S Pai <Pai@CS.email

Subject: Re: Steam Locos

Date: 11 Jun 1992 19:49:00 -0500


In-Reply-To: Manish Malhotra's message of Thu, 11 Jun 92 18:19:32 -0400 <9206112219.AA06284@danube.email
Subject: Re: Steam Locos
Sender: S Pai <Pai@CS.email



MM> In Austria and Germany (and perhaps other European countries also)
MM> nostalgic train journeys are organized on scenic routes.

Well, this happens in the US too!

MM> The engines hauling these trains are as old as early 1920s and 1930s.
MM> Usually, the trains carry only one or two coaches and even the coaches date
MM> back to early times. As expected, the tickets for these rides are sold
MM> months in advance. I even had a chance to meet an old man who  regularly
MM> went on these journeys. Typically, the train leaves early in the morning.
MM> Most of the journeys are 3-4 hour long (usually either to some destination
MM> in the mountains or along Danube). Lunch is provided for and the passengers
MM> are also taken for sight-seeing or to some exhibition. The return journey
MM> is around late afternoon. Some people who can not make it to the journey go
MM> to the railway stations in the evening only to see the train returning.

The one steam-loco train journey I've gone on here in the US is the Connecticut
Valley railroad trip. It's really great, especially in the fall with all the
famed New England fall colours. Tickets for these are available right at the
station, no need for advance booking usually. They have a few old, beautifully
preserved steam locos (unfortunately I don't remember the types), and also lots
of old railway carriages, some in use, others just lying around. Each rake has
around 8-10 carriages, I guess. Anyway, the train journey starts at Essex and
goes about 15 miles up the Connecticut river, to Chester, where one can take a
riverboat connection for a ride up and down the river, and then return by the
train to the starting point. One may sit in either closed or open (roofless)
railway carriages.

I'd greatly appreciate if any of you could send me information on such train
rides in other places in the US. There must be quite a few, considering that
there are so many railway buffs in this country...

-Satish

From: S Pai <Pai@CS.email

Subject: Re: Elec. v/s diesel locos. (Part I)

Date: 11 Jun 1992 22:54:00 -0500


In-Reply-To: VIJAYB@PK705VMG.email message of Thu, 11 Jun 92 17:04:17 EDT <9206112108.AA14241@mimsy.email
Subject: Re: Elec. v/s diesel locos. (Part I)
Sender: S Pai <Pai@CS.email


Thanks, Vijay, for the information about diesel vs. electric locos. I have
a couple of points, though...

You wrote:

V> 2. Highly efficient and pollution free

V> Electric traction is pollution-free, efficient in haulage, has a very
V> high- potential for speed [e.g. the high-speed WAP3 loco.], has
V> inexhaustible source of power and is not affected by seasons. The electric
V> power is produced by consuming low-grade coal in modern thermal stations.
V> Hence, electric traction has a high efficiency in utilization of the natural
V> resources.

I have to wonder how anyone can claim that coal-burning thermal stations are
pollution-free. Maybe the pollution is less per unit energy produced or
something, but certainly it's not zero! And if by "low-grade" coal is meant
coal with high sulphur content, etc., then there's going to be a tremendous
amount of pollution (sulpher dioxide, etc.).

Efficiency: Is this the efficiency of the electric loco or the combined
efficiency of the power station plus transmission plus the loco? Transmission
losses in India are reportedly around 25% in some areas. That alone should make
it difficult to assert that electric locos are more efficient overall.

And why is coal considered inexhaustible? Granted India has enormous coal
reserves, but what with all the ruckus about global warming and so on, I wonder
how far we can go by burning coal for power. I suppose hydroelectricity or
nuclear power is the way to go.

Regards,

-Satish

From: vmravi <vmravi@eos.email

Subject: Steam Locos...

Date: 12 Jun 1992 14:33:00 -0500


I like Manish's Idea - to preserve atleast a few
steam locos for our future enjoyment.

Actually do we have any steam locos in South Central
Railway ? I regularly travel from Hyderabad to Vijayawada
by train every year(... used to, until 1990, when I came here!)
For the past few years I did not see any steam loco on the way.
(I used to see a lot of steam locos at kazipet, in a shed)

However when I went to Varanasi in 1989, I started
seeing a lot of steam locos from Itarsi. I was really
excited seeing those locos... brought back all childhood
memories...

- Venu Madhav R.
ECE Dept., NCSU, Raleigh.

From: Manish Malhotra <malhotra@cs.email

Subject: Railway Crossings

Date: 13 Jun 1992 17:56:00 -0500


The only railway line in Durham is few yards from my apt.
Each day, I see a 3-4 diesel locos hauling long goods trains
a few times a day. There is road crossing very nearby. I often
wondered what mechanism is used in bringing down and lifting
the barrier as the train approaches and leaves the crossing.
Is it accomplished by sensors of some kind ? Or is it controlled
off-site ? If it is on-site, is it susceptible to tampering ?
(Not that I want to ! Just curious.)

Manish

From: Ajai Banarji <banarji@unixg.email

Subject:

Date: 15 Jun 1992 10:34:00 -0500


More news

As you know, the Brindavan express is running electric all the way now.
Electrification is said to have reduced the time from 6 hours to 5:30.
As predicted earlier, a new Shatabdi Express will start running on this
route from Oct 2, 92. The provisional timings are:
SBC -> MAS -> SBC
06.30 11.30
16.30 21.30

No information about stops, though I suppose a non-stop is quite
feasible. As the existing Madras-Bangalore trains stop at Jolarpettai
for only 5 minutes, I suppose a reversal is not needed. (A reversal
IS needed for trains coming from Coimbatore side to Bangalore, but
there is now a Jolarpettai bypass which takes care of that).
Does anyone know the earlier traction mode of the Brindavan? The
Nov 1991 Bradshaw shows a 5-minute stop at Jolarpettai, so clearly
there was no change of locomotive. Was it running on diesel all the
way?
Regarding Manish's query, the level crossing is probably controlled
by a track circuit-whenever a train approaches the crossing, its wheels
cause a short circuit which operates the crossing. Of course, the track
circuits also control automatic signals. It is possible to disrupt the
track circuit by "simulating" a train by putting a metal bar (with an
appropriate resistance) across the tracks.
However, you may get more information from the newsgroup rec.railroad.

From: aravind <aravind@vax135.email

Subject: Madras-bangalore trains

Date: 15 Jun 1992 15:53:00 -0500


They used to stop for 15 minutes at Jolarpet for a change of traction,
irrespective of what the Bradshaw said. In fact, the timetables
*NEVER* indicated this. In the timetables, extra time was "given" to
the Jolarpet-Katpadi section. This was the modus operandi for a long time,
ever since electric engines started to be used on this route, first
between Madras and Katpadi, and then upto Jolarpet.

I have traveled the Brindavan in its heyday - with no stops at Kuppam
and Bangarpet and only 5 hrs from Madras to Bangalore. This was in
72-74. This was when the train only had 11 coaches. then they started
adding more coaches, and giving more and more time to the climb between
Jolarpet and Kuppam.

On my trip this january, only one diesel showed up at Jolarpet to
pull the train, now 18 coaches or so.
Its speed up the incline was a pathetic 30kmph.

The addition of one more fast train is long overdue.

-Aravind

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