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From: S Pai <Pai>>

Subject: Palace on wheels

Date: 04 Oct 1994 20:35:00 -0500


Here is some information about two of the programs of "Palace on Wheels".
(There is another program focusing on places important to Buddhism, but I
do not have the information about it.)

-Satish

------------------------------------------------------------

The 17-day Palace on Wheels program takes passengers on a luxury
train trip from Delhi, calling at Jaipur, Chittaurgarh, Udaipur,
Jaisalmer, Jodhpur, Varanasi, Kathmandu and back to Delhi. Cost is
$3,195 per person, double occupancy. Another 17-day program takes
in southern India at a cost of $ 2,975. It includes visits to
Hyderabad, Bangalore, Mysore, Madras, Cochin and Goa.

From: S. Kumar <kumar@quandsn.email

Subject: new lines, bridges, conversions etc.

Date: 05 Oct 1994 13:53:00 -0500


Here are a few questions for the more knowledgable:

1) How far do the lines extend in J&K? I believe that Jammu Tawi-
Udhampur was completed some time ago. Has constuction begun on the
Udhampur-Srinagar route? Any express trains to Udhampur?

2) Vijay wrote some time ago that construction had begun on the
extension of the Cuttack/Nergundi - Talcher line to Sambalpur. What
is the estimated time of completion?

3) I believe that the Ernakulam-Alleppey-Quilon line was completed
some time ago. Do any of the express trains use this route as
opposed to the older route via Kottayam?

4) Is there a BG link to Chittaurgarh and Udaipur? (since the
"Palace on Wheels" includes them on its itenerary).

5) What is the status of the proposed rail/road bridges over the
Ganga at Bihta (near Patna) and over the Bramhaputra at Dibrugarh?

6) Is Rameswaram still accessible ONLY by rail? Or has a road
bridge been constructed?

7) Is Samastipur-Darbhanga-Narkatiaganj still fully MG?

8) How is Kathgodam linked via BG? Are there any plans to convert
the Agra Fort - Kanpur MG line to BG?

Thanks, Kumar

From: venkatar <venkatar@egr.email

Subject: Re: new lines, bridges, conversions etc.

Date: 06 Oct 1994 20:55:00 -0500


> 6) Is Rameswaram still accessible ONLY by rail? Or has a road
> bridge been constructed?
>
> Thanks, Kumar

The road bridge was opened to traffic a couple of years ago. When I visited
Rameswaram in late eighties, it was nearing completion. It was quite an
impressive sight.

-----------------
Sridhar Shankar

From: S Pai <Pai>>

Subject: Re: Konkan Rail .............

Date: 06 Oct 1994 22:07:00 -0500


Sridhar wrote:

> I was wondering if any one knows about the Railway zones involved with
> the Konkan Rly. Is Mangalore-Udupi part of Southern Rly?

Yes, I'm pretty sure it is.

The latest estimates for when the Konkan Railway line will be opened are
June 1995 for goods traffic and end of 1995 for passenger trains.

-Satish

From: S Pai <Pai>>

Subject: Nepal rail project

Date: 06 Oct 1994 22:17:00 -0500


RITES (Rail India Technical and Economic Services) has secured the contract
for consultancy services for the World-Bank-funded "Nepal Multimodal Transit
and Trade Facilitation Project" which has a cost estimated at Rs. 500 million.

Under the project, a broad-gauge railway line will be built into Nepal and a
container depot built in Birgunj (a commercial town in southern Nepal), to
allow both containerized and conventional rail freight to be carried into
Nepal via Raxaul in India. Currently the line up to Raxaul is a metre-gauge
line, but Muzaffarpur--Raxaul should become a broad-gauge line in the near
future. This will be extended till Birgunj.

[This information is from an article in soc.culture.indian.]

-Satish

From: S Pai <Pai>>

Subject: Bombay commuters go on rampage

Date: 07 Oct 1994 22:58:00 -0500


On 3 Oct 1994 Pushkar said:

> From all the reports I am getting, the Bombay suburban system is genuinely
> deteriorating. A couple of instances:

> - There was massive stoning of Churchgate station for 3 consecutive
> days by irate commuters last week to protest train delays

Below I've included a news article from misc.news.southasia on the latest
incident of the kind. This seems to be becoming rather commonplace now. :-(

-Satish

------------------------------------------------------------

Source : News India-Times, New York, October 8, 1994

Irate Bombay Commuters Burn Trains, Smash Buses
-----------------------------------------------

Stranded Indian commuters went on a rampage on yesterday, burning railroad
cars, looting shops and attacking buses after a derailed train halted
peak-hour traffic into Bombay, the commercial capital, police said.

Irate commuters attacked railway property at about 11 suburban railroad
stations, beating up railway staff, burning furniture and stealing cash from
ticket offices, railroad officials said. At least 34 people were taken to
hospital, including 20 railroad staff, they said.

More than 500 suburban trains were canceled because of the day-long violence.
Bombay's suburban services carry more than three million commuters a day into
the banking and commercial center. It was the fourth time since July that
violent commuters had attacked railroad property following the disruption of
services.

From: Vijay Balasubramanian <vbalasub@mail.email

Subject: Re: new lines, etc.

Date: 11 Oct 1994 22:22:00 -0500


Hi Folks,

Satish's recent news about the rampage in Bombay seems to indicate that the
Bombay suburban system is on the verge of a mini-collapse. Unfortunately, IR
might callously ignore the woes of the Bombay suburban commuters until it has
managed to introduce a Rajdhani/Shatabdi from Delhi to every station in India
:-(.


Here's some news from the India-D Network: (which was corroborated through a
note from Sridhar)

3 KILLED AS RAINS LASH AP
HYDERABAD - 3 kids were killed and 2 others injured and a goods train
derailed as heavy rains lashed many parts of AP under the influence of a
deep depression over the Bay of Bengal today.


Here are my responses to Kumar's queries:

>1) How far do the lines extend in J&K? I believe that Jammu Tawi-
>Udhampur was completed some time ago. Has constuction begun on the
>Udhampur-Srinagar route? Any express trains to Udhampur?

The July '94 TT shows only a portion of the Jammu Tawi - Udhampur line as
being complete (Jammu Tawi - Bajalta). No trains have been indicated.

[from April '94 issue] Jammu - Udhampur railway line will be 53.2 km. long and
is likely to cost Rs. 250 crore. There will be four railway stations between
Jammu and Udhampur. There will be 18 tunnels covering a length of 9.4 km.,
the longest tunnel being 2.4 km., and 142 bridges including important bridges
over the Tawi.

The final location survey from Udhampur to Srinagar will be undertaken in the
1994-95 financial year. The expected cost of the project is Rs. 1500 crore,
and the length of the line would be 225 kms. The terrain is more difficult
[than Jammu - Udhampur] and the longest tunnel would be 14 km. near Chinani,
and the 2nd longest would be 10 km. near Banihal. Almost one-third of the
alignment would pass thru' tunnels.


>2) Vijay wrote some time ago that construction had begun on the
>extension of the Cuttack/Nergundi - Talcher line to Sambalpur. What
>is the estimated time of completion?

[from the April '94 issue] The Talcher-Sambhalpur line should be operational
in 1995, at a cost of nearly Rs 220 crore. This 174 km. link is expected to
take a load of about 5 million tonnes of annual coal traffic from the Talcher
coalfields to the distant power houses of the South thru' the Visakhapatnam
port. It will also handle alumina traffic of NALCO from Damanjodi to
Budhapank.


>3) I believe that the Ernakulam-Alleppey-Quilon line was completed
>some time ago. Do any of the express trains use this route as
>opposed to the older route via Kottayam?

A couple of trains have been extended till Alleppy - the Bokaro Steel City -
Madras Exp. and the Madras - Cochin Exp. The time-table does not show any
train using the Alleppy-Quilon route.


>4) Is there a BG link to Chittaurgarh and Udaipur? (since the
>"Palace on Wheels" includes them on its itenerary).

There is BG link to Chittaurgarh from Kota (only one passenger train) which
continues till Nimach. Udaipur City is not on the BG map. It is proposed to
convert Ratlam -Nimach to BG, thus, providing a shorter route to Chittaurgarh
from Ratlam. Maybe, we can then expect a Bombay - Chittaurgarh exp.


>5) What is the status of the proposed rail/road bridges over the
>Ganga at Bihta (near Patna) and over the Bramhaputra at Dibrugarh?

No idea. The NF railway has taken up the construction of a rail-cum-road
bridge over the Brahmaputra on the South Bank (at Jogighopa which is almost
directly south of New Bongaigaon). The construction of 'Naranarayan Sethu', 3
kms. long, along with 142.15 kms. long BG line from Jogighopa to Guwahati
started in 1978-79 and is likely to be completed in 1996-97 [nearly 18
years!!! Why so long?]. This will provide an alternative to New Bongaigaon -
Guwahati via Rangiya which employs the Saraighat bridge near Guwahati. [from
the June-July '94 issue]


>7) Is Samastipur-Darbhanga-Narkatiaganj still fully MG?

Samastipur - Darbhanga is being converted to BG.

>8) How is Kathgodam linked via BG? Are there any plans to convert
>the Agra Fort - Kanpur MG line to BG?

Through construction of a new link between Rampur and Lalkua and convertion of
Lalkua - Kathgodam to BG. No plans to convert Agra Fort - Kanpur.

Regards,

Vijay

From: Vadivelu Elumalai <vadi@fcca.email

Subject: Re: new lines, etc.

Date: 12 Oct 1994 10:22:00 -0500


> >3) I believe that the Ernakulam-Alleppey-Quilon line was completed
> >some time ago. Do any of the express trains use this route as
> >opposed to the older route via Kottayam?
>
> A couple of trains have been extended till Alleppy - the Bokaro Steel City
> - Madras Exp. and the Madras - Cochin Exp. The time-table does not show
> any train using the Alleppy-Quilon route.
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

There are two more expresses apart from the above mentioned expresses
which use Ernakulam-Alleppey-Quilon line:

Guruvayoor - Nagercoil express (Uses Alleppy-Quilon route)

Bombay VT - Trivandrum express (Uses Alleppy-Quilon route)

Distance: Ernakulam - Quilon (Via Allepey) - 141 KM
(Via Kottayam) - 156 KM

-Vadivel

From: S. Kumar <kumar@quandsn.email

Subject: Ernakulam-Quilon via Alleppey

Date: 12 Oct 1994 11:40:00 -0500


Thanks to Vijay for his detailed response to my questions. I
distinctly remember reading in the Hindu in India last year about the
Alleppey-Kayankulam line. Kayankulam is between Kottayam and Quilon
south of Chengannur and Mavelikkara. In fact, the article went on to
say that the Ernakulam-Alleppey-Kayankulam route would be faster
since it was slightly shorter and had an easier grade than the
existing Kottayam route. I guess I could have misread the line as
having been completed when perhaps the news item said that the
construction had just begun.

As far as the Jammu-Udhampur line is concerned, I remember a photo
caption in the Int'l edition of the Statesman saying something like
"Rail Link to the Kashmir Valley" (not an exact quote) with a picture
of a goods train pulling into Bajtala station. I incorrectly assumed
that the Udhampur line was completely operational and Bajtala was
between Udhampur and Srinagar.

My Brahmaputra "bridge" at Dibrugarh resulted from a vague
recollection of having read it somewhere; it is likely to be a
figment of my imagination. However Dibrugarh would be an ideal place
to place a bridge. The southern Assam lines can be linked up to the
northern Assam lines at North Lakhimpur. In fact, the absence of any
bridge east of Guwahati had resulted in the flourishing of "Air
Taxis" just to cross the B'putra. My father used to travel
extensively in Assam by rail. However, he found that an air taxi was
a lot cheaper than a first class rail ticket, say, if you wanted to go
from Dibrugarh to North Lakhimpur.

The Ganga bridge near Patna has been talked about for 20 years. In
fact, during one of her election campaign trips, Indira Gandhi is
reported to have laid a foundation stone. It is ridiculous that
there is no bridge over the Ganga between Varanasi and Mokama. But
considering that it is Bihar :-( the proposed bridge will remain a
foundation stone long after we are all gone. Apologies to anyone
from Bihar; the insult is aimed at the administration only!

Thanks, Kumar

From: T.H.Sanyal. <THS1@PSUVM.EMAIL

Subject: Re: Ernakulam-Quilon via Alleppey

Date: 14 Oct 1994 13:05:00 -0500


Kumar said:

>The Ganga bridge near Patna has been talked about for 20 years. In
>fact, during one of her election campaign trips, Indira Gandhi is
>reported to have laid a foundation stone. It is ridiculous that

I am not 100% sure, but I believe the bridge that Indira Gandhi laid
foundation stone for is just a road bridge, and if my memory serves
me right, it has been completed quite a while back.

>there is no bridge over the Ganga between Varanasi and Mokama. But
>considering that it is Bihar :-( the proposed bridge will remain a
>foundation stone long after we are all gone. Apologies to anyone
>from Bihar; the insult is aimed at the administration only!

Blaming the state government for all ills is quite convenient, but
considering that the union government controls most anything in India,
it is also unfair (my opinion).
Disclaimer: I am not from Bihar.
T.H.Sanyal.

From: S Pai <Pai>>

Subject: 10/14 Commuters Burn Trains

Date: 14 Oct 1994 16:33:00 -0500


More violence in Bombay. The news given below is from two Reuters reports
posted on the net.

-Satish

------------------------------------------------------------

28 injured as angry Indian commuters burn trains

BOMBAY, Oct 14 - Police opened fire on hundreds of angry
commuters on Friday after three trains were set ablaze in the second violent
protest in a week against Bombay rail delays, officials said.
At least 28 people were injured, six of them when police opened fire.
Police said 22 people were hurt in stone-throwing, among them two top rail
police officials who had rushed to the scene where one train was in flames.
The rioters stoned railway property in the country's commercial capital
and set fire to platform stalls at Bombay's suburban Borivali station after
they were left stranded by the breakdown of a local train on the city's
Western Railway.
Shouting slogans against the railway authorities, they ripped up wooden
seats and set them alight.
``The booking office and parcel offices were completely burnt down,''
said Viren Shelat, a reservations supervisor at Borivali station.
``A group of people suddenly rushed in and set them on fire. The problem
was compounded because the telephone lines all sudddenly went dead. We
couldn't communicate with the rest of the network.''
Firemen battled for over an hour to put out a blaze in three coaches of
the ``Flying Ranee'' express, which shuttles each day between Bombay and
nearby Surat in adjoining Gujarat state. The train had stopped between two
stations after the rioting broke out.
Two other 12-coach trains were also set on fire.
More than 200 trains were canceled. Civil defense squads were called
in to salvage freight and luggage from charred rail cars.
The rioting began at Kandivli, after harried commuters, their tempers
already frayed by a flash downpour, learnt that traffic had been halted.
Commuters climbed out of the stalled local train at Borivali and sat on the
tracks, refusing to let other trains pass.
``First repair our train and let it go, and then you can send the
others,'' they chanted. Police cordoned off the approaches to the railway
station, and a number of bus services had to be suspended.
``It was chaotic, with people running up and down, shouting and yelling.
The platforms are littered with rocks and shards of broken glass,'' said a
photographer whose camera bag and equipment were snatched away in the melee.
It was the second outbreak of rioting by angry commuters in a week. Last
Friday, thousands of people went on the rampage at 11 suburban stations after
a train derailment forced the cancellation of 500 trains into Bombay, a city
of 12 million people.
Nearly three million people rely on the city's suburban rail system to
get them to work each day.
Following last week's rioting, 30-man police platoons were posted at the
affected stations.
``But 30 policemen can't control a mob of 10,000,'' Shelat said ruefully.
``Reinforcments didn't arrive until an hour after the violence began, but by
then it was too late.''

From: Pushkar Apte <apte@spdc.email

Subject: Broken Bombay

Date: 17 Oct 1994 08:04:00 -0500


Thanks to Satish for posting the latest rail disaster in Bombay.
While the violence in the last two weeks has been excessively fierce,
it is by no means unexpected. Sporadic incidents of violence have
been happening with great regularity in Bombay over the last several
months. All these incidents have been provoked by some railway
failures - signal malfunction, rake breakdown, train derailment and so
on. And these failures have been happening with a remarkable
frequency, causing much grief to the commuters who depend on the
railway for their very lives. Of course, that does not justify
violence and destruction of public property, but it does highlight the
railways' complete callousness and scorn for the customers they serve.
A relative of mine, who is a daily commuter, remarked to my mom that
nowadays it is a big achievement if her train takes her to work and
brings her back. What a decline and fall from the time when the
Bombay local service was the country's benchmark in transportation.
And like Nero, Delhi continues to fiddle. Tchah!

Regards,
Pushkar
-------


From: R. Alluri <rralluri@acs.email

Subject: HELP! I don't want to go to my office

Date: 20 Oct 1994 16:01:00 -0500


What is the big deal about going to your office, and what
has that to do with Indian railways? Quite a lot in my case. Let
me explain.

I work for a large oil company with head office in
Bombay, Regional office in Madras, and several area offices in
each state. I was once posted at Gulbarga in Karnataka, as a
field officer in charge of the districts of Bidar, Gulbarga,
Raichur, and Bellary, operating from my home in Gulbarga. I
reported to the Area Manager at Belgaum. I had to visit my office
about twice a month, sometimes even more.

The road distance from Gulbarga to Belgaum is about 400
km. The road is in a bad condition, so I didn't prefer to drive
to office. The alternative was by bus, train and air.

The bus journey is tedious and takes 12 hours in a
semi-luxury bus. The seats are cramped, and if the person next to
you has large dimensions, you would be literally crushed.
Unfortunately, you do not know in advance, who is going to sit
next to you. Many times, my arms were sore after the journey,
forget about catching some sleep. In the middle of the night, the
bus passes through Bijapur, and one can see the majestic Gol
Gumbaz in moonlight from the bus. Early in the morning, the bus
stops at Gokak for a tea break and reaches Belgaum around 8. You
get out of the bus, feeling like you are coming back from a
battle, with a sore bottom, aching limbs, and bleary eyed due to
lack of sleep. After checking into a hotel, I would sleep till
noon, and gather enough strength to go to office.

The other bus alternative is to catch a delux bus
(you have the seat for yourself) to Hubli, and change over to
another bus to Belgaum. The disadvantage is that you have to travel
for a longer time.

The train alternative is most interesting. The choices
are:

1. Gulbarga-Guntakal by BG train, change to MG and catch a train
to Hubli. Change again at Hubli to an MG train to
Belgaum. Very tedious, and takes almost 24 hrs.

2. Gulbarga-Solapur by BG, Solapur-Hubli by MG train (reservation
is a problem. If you don't have advance res, You will be
stranded at Solapur). The train is notorious for thieves,
and you have to be alert. Obviously, you can't sleep
peacefully in the night. You have to change again at
Hubli for the train to Belgaum.

3. Gulbarga-Pune by BG, Pune-Miraj by BG, change over to
another MG train from Miraj to Belgaum. Takes a lot of
time, more than 24 hrs.

4. Gulbarga-Kurduwadi by BG, Kurduwadi-Miraj by NG, and
Miraj-Belgaum by MG. Tedious, and lot of waiting time at
stations. The NG train route is very adventurous and
exciting, with the landscape looking like the badlands
of America.


The air alternative: Belgaum is only linked to Bombay
and Bangalore. It is more convenient for me to travel by train to
Bombay or Bangalore and then fly to Belgaum. It takes more time,
but the journey is comfortable, and your bottom doen't become sore.

Apart from travel to office, I had to visit the
distributors every month. The roads in the area are very bad, (on
some roads, the car has to travel on stones!) so mostly I would
travel by train. The express trains do not stop at places like
Kurkunta, Chittapur, Shahabad etc, so I often had to travel by a
passenger train, even though I was permitted to fly! And after
every tour, I would return to normal condition only after a day's
rest for by back and jaws, and numb feet. To reach places in
Bellary district, I would travel to Guntakal by BG, and
changeover to MG train. Often I would miss the connection due to
late running of trains, and get stranded at Guntakal.

In summary, I had to travel to the neighbouring states of
Maharashtra, and A.P., to travel to my office in Karnataka. Each
visit to my office was like a tedious adventure. In retrospect,
sometimes I enjoyed the adventure of travelling by a
different route and mode every time. It was very easy and
convenient to reach our terminal at Bangalore, our regional
office at Madras, and our HO at Bombay. I often avoided going to
Belgaum and happily travelled in comfort to Bangalore, Madras,
and Bombay by direct train.

Soon, I became sick and tired of travel and wanted a
change. Fortunately, I got a transfer when I reached this stage.

--
Alluri

From: R. Alluri <rralluri@acs.email

Subject: Great Railway Journeys on TV

Date: 24 Oct 1994 09:09:00 -0500


PBS is airing a new BBC series on Great Railway Journeys
at 10pm (mountain time) on Sundays. The first episode covered the
trip from St. Petersburg to Tashkent.

The second episode was about the exciting trip from Santos
on the coast of Brazil to Santa Cruz in Bolivia, passing through
Sao Paulo, spanning the width of South America. If you watch this
episode, you won't complain about late running of trains. You will
be happy that your train is running, and will ultimately reach
its destination (both are doubtful in S.America).

--
Alluri

From: S.Ramani <ramani@saathi.email

Subject: Twenty-Eight Killed in Calcutta Train Accident

Date: 26 Oct 1994 21:37:00 -0500


Organization: NCST, Bombay
Lines: 25


Sent By: S.Ramani, NCST, Bombay

* * * * * *


Calcutta, Oct 26 :PTI: At least 28 persons were killed
and 19 others injured when fire engulfed a second class
sleeper coach of the 8001-DN Bombay-Howrah mail near
Chakradharpur on the Chakradharpur division of south eastern
railway in the early hours of today when the passengers
were fast asleep.
The fire broke out in the 15th coach (sleeper bogey
number six) between Lotapahar and Chakradharpur stations at
0215 hours, about 315 kms from here in Bihar.
While the railway authorities here gave a list of 27
persons killed in the accident, the Bihar Chief Minister,
Mr Laloo Prasad Yadav, told reporters at Jamshedpur after
visiting the accident site that 28 bodies had so far been
recovered.
The cause of the fire has not yet been officially stated
but railway sources seeking anonimity, did not altogether
rule out the possibility of the fire having caused by
unauthorised carrying of fire works by any passenger in view
of the coming Dewali.

From: AP <C-ap@clarinet.email

Subject: India Train Fire Investigated

Date: 27 Oct 1994 10:43:00 -0500


Newsgroups: clari.world.asia.india,clari.biz.industry.transportation,clari.
+ news.trouble
Distribution: clari.apo

Subject: India Train Fire Investigated
Keywords: Asia
Copyright: 1994 by The Associated Press, R
Date: Thu Oct 27 05:20:19 EDT 1994
Lines: 15

NEW DELHI, India (AP) -- Cartons of firecrackers may have caused
the inferno in an ovenright express train from Bombay to Calcutta
that killed at least 30 people, news reports said Thursday.
Several Indian newspapers quoted officials as speculating that
firecrackers carried by passengers may have been responsible for
the intensity of the blaze.
Hindus celebrate the Diwali holiday next week, the festival of
lights widely celebrated by exploding cheap fireworks.
The cause of the fire has not been officially announced.
Railroad officials were not available to comment on the news
reports.
The fire was noticed by railroad workers as the train passed
through the station at Lotapahar in the state of Bihar. Nineteen
people were injured, some of them jumping from the moving train to
escape the flames.

From: ARUL <ARUL@delphi.email

Subject: indian ways

Date: 27 Oct 1994 16:24:00 -0500


I would like to get info on Indways' mainta [unreadable] info on Indian
Railways...anything re maintenance procedures of locomotives, tracks and
rs...thank you....arul

From: S Pai <Pai>>

Subject: Transit : Bombay and New Delhi

Date: 29 Oct 1994 14:30:00 -0500


Here are two news items from soc.culture.indian, one about Bombay suburban
trains and another about the proposed New Delhi tram project.

-Satish

------------------------------------------------------------
1. [From a Reuter report posted by S Bajwa.]

10/28 0838 Cash crunch and policy muddle clog Indian rails

By Clarence Fernandez
BOMBAY, India (Reuter) - Severe overcrowding, frequent breakdowns and
a shortage of funds have turned commuting on the rail network into India's
commercial capital Bombay into a daily nightmare.

Frustration has erupted in violence five times in the past four
months, with commuters wrecking railroad property and setting trains ablaze
in protest against frequent delays.

Railroad authorities have decided to resolve the problem by using
longer trains and phasing out level-crossings with more bridges.

But because of confusion over policy and a severe shortage of funds,
the worst bottlenecks remain unresolved. So, the prospect of commuter riots
continuing to convulse the system remains a very real possibility.

The 2,000 trains on the suburban network in Bombay trundle nearly 5
million people to work and back each day.

"A train arrives or leaves every three minutes," said M. Ravindra,
general manager of Western Railways. At peak hours there may be up to 5,000
people crammed into each train, packed into space normally meant for half
that number.

Desperate commuters traveling on the roofs or poised on the couplings
between coaches are a common sight.

Their weight causes the trains to sink dangerously close to the
tracks, with the cow-catchers on the front of the motorman's cab scraping
the rails.

"All we can do is raise the level of the cow-catchers," said Ravindra.
"It's about as effective as lifting the bumpers on your car."

The chairman of the railroad board, Ashok Bhatnagar, the top
bureaucrat in charge of the country's railroads, has an easy solution to
the problem of overloading that is especially severe in Bombay. Have longer
trains.

"We can increase capacity 30 percent at a stroke by adding three more
coaches to each train," he said. "Over the last two years, experiments with
12-coach trains on the Western Railway have worked out well."

Each new train will cost around $1.27 million. To convert all the
trains on Bombay's Western Railways system will require the equivalent of
20 new trains at a cost of around $25.5 million.

To be spread over three or four years, the plan envisages longer
platforms for the trains, the shifting of signaling machinery to
accommodate them, and the upgrading of the power distribution network.

Raising the funds for the necessary changes is going to be difficult.
"We may even have to consider approaching the European markets, through the
finance ministry, for cheaper funds," Bhatnagar said.

No other metropolis in the country has commuter traffic to match
Bombay's, with its population bulging at an estimated 12 million. The
suburban lines in Calcutta and Madras, for instance, carry 1.2 million and
500,000 passengers, respectively, each day.

Except for the bus services run by Bombay's municipal corporation,
which carry an additional four million passengers every day, there are no
viable alternatives to the railroads for cheap and efficient mass
transport.

Under a May 1990 proposal, the Bombay Urban Transport Project-II
estimated streamlining the city's rail network would cost around $255
million.

The laying of additional tracks between Borivali and Virar, suburban
sections on the Western Railway, was identified as a priority project under
the plan.

During the last five years, the number of commuters on this section
has almost doubled to 400,000, overloading railroad services. Homes and
housing colonies for the middle-class had mushroomed in this area as
builders took advantage of relatively low land prices.

In fact, four of the five passsenger riots since July originated here.

But, in a surprising volte-face, Bhatnagar told journalists recently
his board was not yet convinced of the need to quadruple the number of
lines between Virar and Borivali, leaving the worst potential bottleneck on
the suburban system unresolved.

Among options Bhatnagar says his board is examining to raise funds are
joint projects with private entrepreneurs who will set up and maintain the
infrastructure under leasing agreements.

Schemes to build two commercial complexes and office buildings on some
of the land the railroads own in Bombay are also being worked out. Eighteen
architects' firms are competing to submit designs.

------------------------------------------------------------
2. [From a Business Times article posted by S Pavithran.]

HEADLINE: Delhi sees strong response to US$ 1b tram system tender

BYLINE: S N Vasuki

BODY:
SINGAPORE -Global tenders floated early this month for a US$ 1 billion (S$
1.47 billion) high-speed tram system in New Delhi should attract a strong
response, the director of India's Surface Transport Ministry said.

Pankaj Jain said in Jakarta last week he expected Japanese, South Korean
and European firms to be among the main respondents and that the proposed 176
km tram network in the congested capital would serve as a model for other
Indian cities.

Tenders for the project, essentially a light rail train system, close in
mid-January next year.

Mr Jain said he hoped construction work on the first phase would commence
by March and that some routes would be operational by the middle of 1997.

"We have had informal discussions with Japanese and Korean firms and the
initial response has been encouraging," he said. "The project has also
attractedwide attention in Europe."

At an estimated US$ 5.7 million per km, Mr Jain said project cost for the
high speed tram network was extremely competitive.

"The land is free and the operator will also have the advertising
concession along the entire network," he said. "The project will be given out
as a BOT (build-operate-transfer) contract for a 20-year tenure but we are
flexible on negotiation terms".

Mr Jain said several factors made it necessary to build a high-speed tram
network in the Indian capital. "New Delhi has become overcrowded and the
existing network cannot cope with the growing demand for public transport.

"A tram system would help in easing traffic congestion as people who
currently using two and three-wheelers will eventually switch to commuting on
trams."

Listing the technical specifications of the project, Mr Jain said the
high-speed tram system will consist of elevated tracks erected on the centre
of the road.

The system, with three air-conditioned coaches, is designed to carry
between 100,000-150,000 passengers a day on a 10-15 km corridor. There will
be nine corridors on the system, with the longest stretching 42 km.

The Surface Transport Ministry hopes the entire System will be operating by
1999.

Mr Jain said that although the total project cost appeared to be high,
actualcapital investment and maintenance costs on individual corridors would
be reasonable.

He also sought to allay fears that the operator would have to charge
excessively high tariffs to make a profit. "The Indian government has proposed
a two-tier tariff, 5 rupees up to 8 km and 7 rupees beyond that.

"We estimate that with maintenance costs of around US$ 225,000 per km and
theusual interest charges, the operator should be able to recover the entire
investment within 10 to 12 years."

From: S Pai <Pai>>

Subject: news snippet : loco training schools

Date: 29 Oct 1994 14:33:00 -0500


An Australian international aid agency will contribute about US $5.45 million
to set up two training schools provided with Australian technology, for the
training of IR's locomotive drivers. One will be at Kharagpur and another at
Bhusaval.

-Satish

From: Pushkar Apte <apte@spdc.email

Subject: Re: Transit

Date: 29 Oct 1994 13:31:00 -0500


Satish, thanks for the informative article. Some points:

>
> Their weight causes the trains to sink dangerously close to the
> tracks, with the cow-catchers on the front of the motorman's cab scraping
> the rails.

What *is* a "cow-catcher"?

>
> Raising the funds for the necessary changes is going to be difficult.
> "We may even have to consider approaching the European markets, through the
> finance ministry, for cheaper funds," Bhatnagar said.
>
> Among options Bhatnagar says his board is examining to raise funds are
> joint projects with private entrepreneurs who will set up and maintain the
> infrastructure under leasing agreements.
>

Why on earth would European markets or private entrepreneurs pay for
and/or maintain the Bombay transit system? What's in it for them? Its
not like the Bombay local system is a blue-chip investment! It seems
to me like IR is making a futile attempt to pass the buck here.
Before seeking outside funding, somebody has to take a look at
resource allocation within *existing* resources. Reducing PORK will
will probably make enough funds availabe for substantial progress.
Not that anyone's ever going to do that, but ...

> No other metropolis in the country has commuter traffic to match
> Bombay's, with its population bulging at an estimated 12 million. The
> suburban lines in Calcutta and Madras, for instance, carry 1.2 million and
> 500,000 passengers, respectively, each day.

Thats a pretty mind-boggling statistic. Along with others, I have
gone on record before, criticizing IR's favoritism towards Delhi. Let
me clarify that I have nothing against Delhi having good services -
after all it is the capital of India. It is just that in the light of
statistics such as the above, IMHO it is IR's first duty to provide basic
services to people whose lives depend on it, before trying fancy
stuff. But they simply don't care!

Regards,
Pushkar
-------

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