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From: Steven Brown <able@ricochet.email

Subject: Historic Engine=Fairy Queen From National Rail Museum

Date: 18 Nov 1996 11:36:00 -0500


The "Complete" story : The 1855 British-built "fairy Queen" would run
New Delhi-Alwar (94 miles)from February 97. The train would be only one
60 seat carriage and a pantry car. The overnight trip would cost $500.

This would surely be the oldest active locomotive in the world.

From: Kandaswami, Auroprem* <Kandaswami#m#_Auroprem*@msgate.email

Subject: IR helps kidnapped girl escape

Date: 20 Nov 1996 05:39:00 -0500


THE HINDU, 20 November 1996


A shrewd Mumbai schoolgirl escaped from the clutches of kidnappers by hopping on to the 1063 Dn Dadar-Madras Chennai Express at Dadar Terminus Railway station and bolting herself in the toilet on Monday.

The 14-year-old girl who arrived here on Tuesday was handed over to her relatives by the Chennai Railway Police.

The girl, Anubha Singhvi, was reportedly kidnapped by two unknown persons when she was returning home from school on a cycle on Monday afternoon. The abductors took her to the Dadar Terminus Railway station around 8 p.m., police said.

Using her ingenuity, she told the kidnappers that she wanted to relieve herself and entered a toilet in S-10 compartment of Chennai Express. Once inside, she refused to come out.

After the train left Dadar, she came out and explained her plight to a family travelling to Chennai to attend a marriage.

The Train Ticket Examiner (TTE) was also alerted, and subsequently he informed the girl's father over phone from Renigunta.

Immediately, Anubha's father informed his relatives in Chennai. Following this, Anubha's relatives sought the help of the City Police Commissioner, Mr. V. K. Rajagopalan, who in turn alerted the Deputy Inspector General, Railways, Mr. C. Balasubramanian.

The Railway Police immediately swung into action and kept watch at Tiruttani, Perambur, Basin Bridge and Chennai Central railway stations. The girl, in her school uniform, was spotted by a Woman Head Constable, Mrs. Sarala, in S-10 coach when the train arrived Central railway station. After due verification she was handed over to her relatives by the Railway Police.

From: Kandaswami, Auroprem* <Kandaswami#m#_Auroprem*@msgate.email

Subject: Re: Konkan Railway delayed again

Date: 21 Nov 1996 10:22:00 -0500


NEW DELHI, Nov 21

The completion of the Konkan Railway Project has been delayed
again. The Ministry of Railways, which had scheduled commissioning of
passenger traffic from December, has again rescheduled it to March
1997.

Railway officials, however, are themselves not too sure whether even
this target could be met and privately decline to set any date fully
knowing the fate of the innumerable targets that they had set over the
last two years.

The problem that the Konkan Railway Corporation (KRC) engineers are
facing is the two soft-soil tunnels in the Goa sector which has been
hindering the entire work on the nearly Rs.3,000-crore project. While
the KRC has been able to complete as much as 83 km of tunnelling in
the entire Konkan route, it has been facing problems on a mere 300
metre long route. The KRC engineers have now pinned their hope on a
latest drilling machine they have acquired from the USA and hope to
complete their task shortly. While they have already completed 45 km
of tunnel work in Goa, a mere 300m stretch has been giving problems at
two tunnels, officials pointed out, stating that excavation in the two
tunnel spots was progressing.

The major cause for the tunnelling problems had been excessive rains
received during monsoon which has resulted in soft soil. Work on the
third tunnel at Sawantwadi on the Goa-Maharashtra border is nearing
completion and would be opened for traffic by mid-December. The repair
work near Bhatkal where a portion of the tunnel had collapsed some
time ago had been set right. Official sources here say that though
they had kept the new deadline for March early completion of the work
is not being ruled out either. ''It all depends on whether we would
get rocks and not soft soil when we drill the earth to make the
tunnels,`` said one official. However, even if the work gets
completed, the actual passenger traffic to run on the entire route may
still take some more time.

For, after the goods traffic is allowed, the commissioner for railway
safety - who is not an officer of the rail ministry but belongs to the
surface transport ministry - has to clear the route from the safety
angle. With the route passing through so many tunnels, KRC officials
may be sitting on the edge of their seats until he gives the final
nod, sources remarked.

Already, sections from Roha to Ratnagiri (203 km) and Mangalore to
Kundapur (100 km) have been opened for passenger services while
Ratnagiri to Sawantawadi (160 km) which has been completed, would be
opened for passenger service by mid-December.

Meanwhile, it is learnt that the Konkan railway passengers will have
to shell out more in terms of fare for the journey which makes the
distance considerably less from any one point to the other. While the
passenger fares would be about 40 per cent higher than the normal
fare, the freight tariff would be 50 per cent more than normal. ''This
is in view of the high cost of the project and the maintenance
involved. And this is fixed by the Railway Ministry and not by KRC,``
explained one official.

He added that there were at least half a dozen routes in the country
like the trains on Mettupalaiyam-Ootacamund, Shimla-Kalka routes which
impose an enhanced fare than the normal ones. In railway parlance it
is called ''inflation in distance`` and its imposition is a normal
practice for realisation of an economic rate of return on its
projects.

(Source : Deccan Herald, 22 November 1996)

From: db2adm <db2adm@VNET.email

Subject: Railway News

Date: 21 Nov 1996 17:12:00 -0500


Completion of Konkan rly project further delayed

>From B S Arun
DH News Service
NEW DELHI, Nov 21

The completion of the Konkan Railway Project has been delayed
again. The Ministry of Railways, which had scheduled commissioning
of passenger traffic from December, has again rescheduled it to
March 1997.

Railway officials, however, are themselves not too sure whether
even this target could be met and privately decline to set any
date fully knowing the fate of the innumerable targets that they
had set over the last two years.

The problem that the Konkan Railway Corporation (KRC) engineers
are facing is the two soft-soil tunnels in the Goa sector which
has been hindering the entire work on the nearly Rs.3,000-crore
project. While the the KRC has been able to complete as much as 83
km of tunnelling in the entire Konkan route, it has been facing
problems on a mere 300 metre long route. The KRC engineers have
now pinned their hope on a latest drilling machine they have
acquired from the USA and hope to complete their task shortly.
While they have already completed 45 km of tunnel work in Goa, a
mere 300m stretch has been giving problems at two tunnels,
officials pointed out, stating that excavation in the two tunnel
spots was progressing.

The major cause for the tunnelling problems had been excessive
rains received during monsoon which has resulted in soft soil.
Work on the third tunnel at Sawantawadi on the Goa-Maharashtra
border is nearing completion and would be opened for traffic by
mid-December. The repair work near Bhatkal where a portion of the
tunnel had collapsed some time ago had been set right. Official
sources here say that though they had kept the new deadline for
March early completion of the work is not being ruled out either.
''It all depends on whether we would get rocks and not soft soil
when we drill the earth to make the tunnels,`` said one official.
However, even if the work gets completed, the actual passenger
traffic to run on the entire route may still take some more time.

For, after the goods traffic is allowed, the commissioner for
railway safety - who is not an officer of the rail ministry but
belongs to the surface transport ministry - has to clear the route
from the safety angle. With the route passing through so many
tunnels, KRC officials may be sitting on the edge of their
seats until he gives the final nod, sources remarked.

Already, sections from Roha to Ratnagiri (203 km) and Mangalore to
Kundapur (100 km) have been opened for passenger services while
Ratnagiri to Sawantawadi (160 km) which has been completed,
would be opened for passenger service by mid-December.

Meanwhile, it is learnt that the Konkan railway passengers will
have to shell out more in terms of fare for the journey which
makes the distance considerably less from any one point to the
other. While the passenger fares would be about 40 per cent higher
than the normal fare, the freight tariff would be 50 per cent more
than normal. ''This is in view of the high cost of the project and
the maintenance involved. And this is fixed by the Railway
Ministry and not by KRC,`` explained one official.

He added that there were at least half a dozen routes in the
country like the train on Shimla-Kalka route which impose an
enhanced fare than the normal ones. In railway parlance it is
called ''inflation in distance`` and its imposition is a normal
practice for realisation of an economic rate of return on its
projects.
====================================

Maharashtra set to construct
Sewri-Nhava sea-link project
Pramod Pagedar

MUMBAI 20 NOVEMBER
THE MAHARASHTRA government will construct a trans-harbour link
over the Arabian Sea to connect the Mumbai island with the
mainland (from Sewri to Navi Mumbai at Nhava) at an estimated cost
of Rs 3,420 crore. The project envisages the construction of a
18.4-km bridge across the Mumbai harbour between Sewri and Nhava.
The bridge will have approach ways on both the Mumbai island and
the Navi Mumbai sides. The project is expected to be completed in
five years, commencing from October 1997.

In view of the complementary roles played by the suburban railway
and road networks in the Mumbai metropolitan area, both Mr Sinha
and Mr Jha have proposed to accommodate a commuter rail corridor
in the sea-link design at an additional cost in case the railway
authorities agree to finance such a rail line.
=================================

From: Steven Brown <able@ricochet.email

Subject: Web Pages re: Indian Railways

Date: 21 Nov 1996 18:54:00 -0500


I came across an interesting web page, it features a photo of an
electric locomotive (North Eastern Ry) and a brief outline of the New
Marketing Strategy (freight transport). The link: <a href>
<A HREF="http://www.meadev.gov.in/economy/infra/tp3-rail.htm</a>">http://www.meadev.gov.in/economy/infra/tp3-rail.htm</a></A>

Also readers are invited to check out my web page in it's beta release
form at <a href><A HREF="http://www.pressanykey.com/cs156/vmall/sbrown</a>">http://www.pressanykey.com/cs156/vmall/sbrown</a></A>
At present it features pictures I took at the Mysore Railway Museum
and a few elsewhere. Later I intend to include more Electric and Diesel
locomotive pictues that I have, but I need pictures of WP and WG broad
guage steam, otherwise it will remain in beta rev levels.

From: Jishnu Mukerji <jis@fpk.email

Subject: Re: Web Pages re: Indian Railways

Date: 22 Nov 1996 09:00:00 -0500


Excerpts from personal.IRFCA: 21-Nov-96 Web Pages re: Indian Railways
Steven Brown@ricochet.email (658*)

> I came across an interesting web page, it features a photo of an
> electric locomotive (North Eastern Ry) and a brief outline of the New
> Marketing Strategy (freight transport). The link: <a href>
> <A HREF="http://www.meadev.gov.in/economy/infra/tp3-rail.htm</a>">http://www.meadev.gov.in/economy/infra/tp3-rail.htm</a></A>

Neat page! Thanks. BTW the locomotive is a WAG4 class goods (i.e.
freight) locomotive from the Kanpur Electric Loco shed of Northern
Railway (Oo Re' for Ootta'r Railway), not North Eastern. Incidentally,
the picture also shows very clearly the general lineside electrification
equipment that is used on IR, and the French ancestry of its design is
as clear as it can be.

Thanks again for the pointer.

Jishnu.
==================================================================
Jishnu Mukerji

Rm. D-283 Email: jis@fpk.email
Hewlett-Packard Company
New Jersey Laboratories Phone: +1 201 443 7528
P. O. Box 949 Fax: +1 201 443 7602
180 Park Avenue, Bldg 103
Florham Park, NJ 07932-9998
U. S. A.
==================================================================

From: db2adm <db2adm@VNET.email

Subject: WP and WG loco pictures

Date: 22 Nov 1996 07:20:00 -0500


Steven,

> Later I intend to include more Electric and Diesel
> locomotive pictues that I have, but I need pictures of WP and WG broad
> guage steam, otherwise it will remain in beta rev levels.

Can we get a permission from publishers of Indian Locomotives to copy
pictures of WP and WG locos? Their pictures, although black and white,
are pretty good in quality.

Prakash

From: sshankarnarayan <sshankarnarayan@kpmg.email

Subject: Konkan Railway ...

Date: 23 Nov 1996 14:32:00 -0500


Hi folks,

Take a look at the following article. Predicts a dismal future for the much
vaunted Konkan Railway (full page ads in Indian newspapers notwithstanding).

Sridhar Shankar

-------------------------------------------------------------------
Guide to messing up a project

The Konkan Railway project has landed itself in a fatal debt trap by
ignoring technical procedures, say Claude Alvares and Anthony Simoes

THE KONKAN Railway Corporation (KRC) - which is building the coastal
Konkan Railway between Mangalore and Roha - recently stated that it has been
permitted to raise new funds for its project that was to be completed in
October 1994.

According to the KRC, the Bank of America has now sanctioned a loan of $30
million (Rs 108 crore) based on a `letter of comfort' from the government of
India, and was acting as lead manager for an additional loan of $74 million
(Rs 266.4 crore) from a consortium of 20 foreign banks and four Indian banks.

About the same time, the KRC also told the press that it had received Central
government sanction to issue debentures worth Rs 150 crore, towards end
October.

But will the new money, if and when it comes, salvage the project or its
economic viability, at this stage.

Out of the Rs 524 crore that the KRC hopes to raise from the foreign loans and
the debenture issue, Rs 252 crore are, by its own admission, for repayment of
debt (UTI and Bharat Dynamics.) This leaves the KRC with a sum of Rs 272
crore for development. This sum is inadequate to complete the project.

In 1995, the KRC chairman had told the AGM that the cost of the project had
touched Rs 2,480 crore and it needed just Rs 300 crore more to complete the
job since it was 95 per cent complete.

In 1996, the chairman tells a newspaper that the project cost has been revised
to Rs 2,784 crore and the corporation needed just another Rs 300 crore to
complete the job and that 95 per cent of the job is complete. If Rs 300 crore
is needed for 5 per cent of the job, then the total cost of the project is
nothing less than Rs 6,000 crore.

This dismal scenario is bound to repeat itself in 1997 and 1998. This is
simply because the KRC has worked itself not only into a fatal debt trap, but
invited
on itself far more fundamental problems in attempting to construct a railway
bypassing the technical railway procedures laid down in that railway Bible,
the Indian Railways Engineering Code (IREC.) Curiously, neither the Centre
represented on the KRC by the Railway Board nor the coastal state
governments, which also provide the equity, seem concerned about the state of
the project.

The KRC was formed in 1990. Its brief was to build the Konkan Railway (KR)
by October 1994 according to a detailed alignment survey already carried out
by the Central Railway. The KRC was supposed to operate the railway for 10
years and then transfer it to the IR after recovering the construction cost
(build-operate-transfer scheme.) The KRC pegged the cost at Rs 1,042 crore.

Now it is November 1996. There are such serious technical and financial
problems still facing the railroad's construction that the most optimistic
completion date is mid-1998. The most pessimistic prediction is that the KR
may never be able to run on the present alignment (at least in the Goa sector)
and that all investments in this railroad are more or less worthless and
irredeemable pieces of paper.

What are the actual achievements of the corporation to date? After six years
of work and spending three times the estimated cost, only 30 per cent of the
railway track is complete enough for trains to run on it. The completed
sections include the 132 km stretch from Roha to Chiplun and the 100 km stretch
from
Mangalore to Coondapur.

What events have led up to this sorry state of affairs? To comprehend the
magnitude of the economic tragedy that the KR has become, one has to look at
a few critical numbers. The original central Railway estimate envisaged 867
kms of mainline, 28 kms of tunnels and 23 kms of bridge. But the KRC line being
built consists of 760 kms of mainline, 82 kms of tunnels and 89 kms of
bridges.

This means the KRC reduced the length of its railway by 107 kms. Going by this
criteria most people expected a cheaper railway. But the steep increase in
tunnels and bridges have dashed this hope. The KRC added 54 kms of tunnels
and 66 kms of bridges to its alignment. In terms of costs, this is the
equivalent of adding 1,800 kms to the length of the railroad since tunnel and
bridge
construction costs generally work out at least 15 times the cost of other
railway formation - i.e. cuttings or embankments.

In other words, costwise, the KRC is actually building a railway 2,600 km in
length when compared with the 867 kms of the original (Central Railway )
alignment which had the additional advantage of being surveyed in detail by
competent departmental engineers.

In its hurry to trumpet early completion of the project to please political
bosses, the KRC bypassed the mandatory surveys and soil tests required under
the
IREC. During the Oza high level committee hearings, it emerged that the KRC
began construction on a notional alignment drawn on topo sheets rather than
following detailed ground level studies. In other words, the KRC commenced
working on an adhoc route, and naturally soon found it had to make on site
alignment and structural changes to suit the terrain as they encountered it.

These played havoc with cost and time frames, not to mention the effect on the
logistics and the need to negotiate new contracts in the middle of the
project.

In Goa, the KRC got rapidly bogged down in the khazan lands. These khazans
are reclaimed areas which lie below sea level and are protected by a
combination of bunds and sluice gates. Experts on khazans had warned the
KRC that these khazans were incapable of supporting railway embankments of
more than four metres height. In fact, they recommended avoiding the khazans
altogether because of their unpredictable behaviour which can vary according
to changing seasons and other parameters. Despite all these warnings, the KRC
went into the khazans with medium to high embankments, claiming they were a
hightech organisation using the latest sand piling/sand drain technology.

The technology failed. At Cortalim alone - almost the centre point between
Mangalore and Roha - embankments collapsed under their own weight, about
20 times. This has happened even before the embankments have reached their
full heights. When the embankments do reach their full height they will have
the tracks (permanent way) - weighing about five tonnes per metre - laid on
top.
Trains weighing thousands of tonnes have to run over these tracks at high
speed. The axle load of these locomotives will be about 30 tonnes. The
combination of
the dynamic load of the moving train and the vibrations will only compound the
instability of the high embankments. To make matters worse, the KRC
contractors have not compacted the mud in these embankments.

In the absence of soil tests, the KRC has run into serious trouble with some
of its tunnels both in Goa and Karnataka. It has had dozens of tunnel
collapses,
causing death and injury. Much tunneling work is still to be done. The cost of
these tunnels are as high as Rs 150,000 per metre. The original estimates were
Rs 15,000 per metre. At the Honnavar tunnel, the chief engineer says he can
only progress eight metres a month in the soft soil.

Instead of doing the difficult long cycle jobs first, the KRC started on the
easier jobs. It selected critical, visible spots where it could show the public
and
the press tremendous physical progress on the ground. It also fooled itself
with a
high weighted average on the basis of the physical progress of the project as
a whole. However, the critical path got stretched out because key operations
like soft soil tunnels and tricky embankments got it bogged down.

Our estimates show the interest burden, as of today, on the KRC is about Rs 80
lakh per day. The railway is also losing Rs 3 lakh per day operating the 232
km completed sectors. If the cost of repairs is added, the figure will be
mindboggling. The new foreign loans carry an interest burden of 7.8 per cent.
Though there is no need to pay the principal or interest for the first five
years, the entire sum plus interest (Rs 747 crore) must be paid within the
eighth year.
The KRC's past record on cost estimates is ad hoc at best. It started at Rs
1,042 crore in 1990, raised the estimate to Rs 1,385 crore in 1992, Rs 1,800
crore in 1993, Rs 2,050 crore in 1994 and Rs 2,480 crore in March 1995.
Now the estimate has been further raised to Rs 2,784 crore. These estimates do
not include deferred payments to L&T at 18 per cent once the railway is
completed for expensive form works.

Assuming that an economic miracle produces an additional Rs 1,000 crore
required (not just Rs 300 crore as claimed), the railway may be commissioned
mid or end 1998. But the BOT agreement is in tatters. The rate of return
obviously cannot cope with the fourfold cost increase and the four year delay
in completion.

What is the KRC's potential for earnings? They are largely negative. The KR
will have to be subsidised, since it will not pay for itself. The railroad will
work to only a quarter of its designed capacity. The flow of traffic will be
slowed
down considerably for many reasons that are beyond KRC's control. Year after
year,
the monsoons will immobilise sections of the railway since it is built like a
dam - unlike the CR alignment - across the entire watershed of the Konkan. A
combination of poor soil conditions, heavy rain, shoddy construction and
neglect will make the railway inoperative for six months in a year.
Embankments,
cuttings and tunnels will get waterlogged. Some of them will collapse and they
can only be repaired after the monsoons. In the absence of connecting
railways, traffic cannot be diverted on another route. Imagine the financial
implication
of having a 900 odd kilometre section totally immobilised.

The 152 km section from Mumbai to Roha has been built piecemeal before the
KRC was formed in 1990. We have inspected this section and noticed the
ballast and sleepers used cannot handle top speeds of even 80 kmph. Again,
this is a single track which will only add to the problem of speed.

The KRC has neither motive power nor rolling stock to run the KR. It was
relying on the Indian Railways to lease it the locomotives, coaches, and
wagons. But the annual report of the KRC, for 1994-1995, says the IR has backed
out
of this commitment. Where will the KRC go shopping for these items?

The result of all these will be that the tariff earning capability projected
by the KRC in 1990 will be reduced by about 75 per cent.
Faced with this abysmal scenario, Mr Sreedharan, KRC's chairman, has been
shouting from the roof tops that he will raise Rs 100 additional crore by
leasing /selling Konkan Railway assets! Mr Sreedharan should realise by now
that the
KRC does not have any assets. It has only liabilities.

A railway that should have paid off its loans and been transferred to the
Indian Railways in 10 years will now have to be subsidised throughout its life
from
day one.Most important, the private investments made in thousands of crores may
never be repaid. These investors will get neither their interests nor
dividends. They may even lose their capital.

The KR, if completed, will reduce the rail journey between Mumbai and
Mangalore by more than 50 per cent. With this distance being reduced by about
1000 km, a cash strapped KRC will be forced to maximise its profits by
carrying through traffic. Thus the Konkan region between Mumbai and
Mangalore will neither be served as points of originating traffic or as
destinations. It will be relegated to the unexalted status of a mere corridor.
Hence there will be no economic development.

From: db2adm <db2adm@VNET.email

Subject: Railway News

Date: 24 Nov 1996 08:59:00 -0500


Railway projects in T.N. get raw deal
>From Our Special Correspondent (The Hindu)

CHENNAI, Nov. 23.

Despite the Union Railway Minister, Mr. Ram Vilas Paswan's
assurance to MPs from Tamil Nadu that all ongoing projects in the
State would be allotted sufficient funds for their early
completion, the progress of broad gauge (BG) conversion program in
the State continues to be sluggish, feel Southern Railway
officials.

Only those projects in Karnataka and Bihar, where the Prime
Minister and the Railway Minister respectively hail from, are
moving at a swift pace, while schemes in Tamil Nadu are being
shifted to the back burner.

The BG conversion work in Karnataka, started much behind the
schemes in Tamil Nadu, is set to be completed in a record time.
For example, the Mysore-Hassan 100-km BG conversion work,
announced by the Ministry recently is to be completed by March
next year. Similarly the Bangalore-Mysore BG section is to be
doubled followed by electrification and one more line is to be
laid from Bangalore to Hassan, apart from the existing line via
Arisikere. Seven to eight surveys are in progress in Karnataka for
new railway lines. The sources say most of these lines do not have
either passenger or freight traffic potential.

On the other hand, the Tiruchi-Villupuram chord line conversion
work is progressing at a snail's pace. The standard reply by the
administration here is that the project would be expedited after
completing the bridge works on the section. Even Railway officials
are skeptical whether the work would be completed by March 1998 as
announced by the Railway Minister in his pre-budgetary conference
with the Tamil Nadu MPs in Chennai. Both the passenger and the
freight traffic have reached the optimum level on this line.

The chord line conversion will serve no purpose unless the
Tiruchi-Dindigul MG line also is converted along with the Tiruchi-
Villupuram section. Apart from poor fund allotment, land
acquisition near Kalpattichatram delays the work. Similar is the
fate of the Tiruchi-Thanjavur new parallel BG line where nearly 75
per cent of the work is over.

The administration is not in a position to open the Salem-
Bangalore BG line for passenger traffic though the work has been
completed. Minor works relating to passenger amenities are to be
carried out before making the project operational. The line is
likely to relieve the congestion on the Salem-Jolarpettai section
where utilization is more than 150 per cent.

The Railway Minister also announced at the meeting that the
Madras-Villupuram main line conversion work would be taken up in
the Eighth Plan. With the Railway Ministry now giving priority to
North Eastern States it is unlikely to be taken up even in the
Ninth Plan.

Not only the BG conversion projects, but even in construction of
road overbridges Karnataka gets the priority. The Prime Minister
in the last two months laid foundation stones for two new
overbridges and an underbridge in Karanataka.

In Tamil Nadu though there is a crying need for many overbridges,
neither the State Government nor the Railway administration seems
to be in any great hurry. One such location is in Kandambakkam
near Ulundurpet on the Chennai-Tiruchi National Highway where
thousands of vehicles criss-cross the Tiruchi-Villupuram chord
line, especially during night. Road overbridges are immediately
needed near Tambaram railway station, Srirangam station and near
Madura Coats Road in Madurai to relieve acute traffic congestion.
Proposals have also been sent to the Railway Board for widening
the overbridges near Tiruchi and Madurai junctions but no reply
has been received so far.
===========================

From: Harsh Kumar <harsh@krcl.email

Subject: Re: Konkan Railway ...

Date: 25 Nov 1996 22:34:00 -0500


Hi!

Articles like the one circulated by Sridhar have been written about
Konkan for a long time. Time will rove how wrong the authors are.
Let me mention that people had mentioned that it would take 10 years to
build bridge over zuari river. This was in 1992. The bridge is there and
all can see.

I feel there is a small group against the project. I will not make a
guess about their interests or motivation for doing this.

Konkan will change the life of the people of the region. If any one wants
to see how life gets changed because of railway lines she/he should see
the region near Jipur. Life changed when M-gauge was changed to B-Gauge.

Line has been opened till Ratnagiri. Soon it will be open till
Savantwadi. We reach Goa in Jan 1996.

One interesting fact I must mention.

Bus between Mumbai and Goa is 15 hours. Start at 15:00 and reach next day
at about 6/7:00.

Train will start at 23:00 and reach next day at 10:00 hrs.

There is no point in comparing the different features. Train will be in
Goa within a month or so.

I will post the part II of informatin in a day or two.

Please feel free to ask for any information on Konkan Railway.

Harsh Kumar

_____________________________________________


On Sat, 23 Nov 1996 sshankarnarayan@kpmg.email wrote:

> Hi folks,
>
> Take a look at the following article. Predicts a dismal future for the much
> vaunted Konkan Railway (full page ads in Indian newspapers notwithstanding).
>
> Sridhar Shankar
>
> -------------------------------------------------------------------
> Guide to messing up a project
>
> The Konkan Railway project has landed itself in a fatal debt trap by
> ignoring technical procedures, say Claude Alvares and Anthony Simoes
>
> THE KONKAN Railway Corporation (KRC) - which is building the coastal
> Konkan Railway between Mangalore and Roha - recently stated that it has been
> permitted to raise new funds for its project that was to be completed in
> October 1994.
>
> According to the KRC, the Bank of America has now sanctioned a loan of $30
> million (Rs 108 crore) based on a `letter of comfort' from the government of
> India, and was acting as lead manager for an additional loan of $74 million
> (Rs 266.4 crore) from a consortium of 20 foreign banks and four Indian banks.
>
> About the same time, the KRC also told the press that it had received Central
> government sanction to issue debentures worth Rs 150 crore, towards end
> October.
>
> But will the new money, if and when it comes, salvage the project or its
> economic viability, at this stage.
>
> Out of the Rs 524 crore that the KRC hopes to raise from the foreign loans and
> the debenture issue, Rs 252 crore are, by its own admission, for repayment of
> debt (UTI and Bharat Dynamics.) This leaves the KRC with a sum of Rs 272
> crore for development. This sum is inadequate to complete the project.
>
> In 1995, the KRC chairman had told the AGM that the cost of the project had
> touched Rs 2,480 crore and it needed just Rs 300 crore more to complete the
> job since it was 95 per cent complete.
>
> In 1996, the chairman tells a newspaper that the project cost has been revised
> to Rs 2,784 crore and the corporation needed just another Rs 300 crore to
> complete the job and that 95 per cent of the job is complete. If Rs 300 crore
> is needed for 5 per cent of the job, then the total cost of the project is
> nothing less than Rs 6,000 crore.
>
> This dismal scenario is bound to repeat itself in 1997 and 1998. This is
> simply because the KRC has worked itself not only into a fatal debt trap, but
> invited
> on itself far more fundamental problems in attempting to construct a railway
> bypassing the technical railway procedures laid down in that railway Bible,
> the Indian Railways Engineering Code (IREC.) Curiously, neither the Centre
> represented on the KRC by the Railway Board nor the coastal state
> governments, which also provide the equity, seem concerned about the state of
> the project.
>
> The KRC was formed in 1990. Its brief was to build the Konkan Railway (KR)
> by October 1994 according to a detailed alignment survey already carried out
> by the Central Railway. The KRC was supposed to operate the railway for 10
> years and then transfer it to the IR after recovering the construction cost
> (build-operate-transfer scheme.) The KRC pegged the cost at Rs 1,042 crore.
>
> Now it is November 1996. There are such serious technical and financial
> problems still facing the railroad's construction that the most optimistic
> completion date is mid-1998. The most pessimistic prediction is that the KR
> may never be able to run on the present alignment (at least in the Goa sector)
> and that all investments in this railroad are more or less worthless and
> irredeemable pieces of paper.
>
> What are the actual achievements of the corporation to date? After six years
> of work and spending three times the estimated cost, only 30 per cent of the
> railway track is complete enough for trains to run on it. The completed
> sections include the 132 km stretch from Roha to Chiplun and the 100 km stretch
> from
> Mangalore to Coondapur.
>
> What events have led up to this sorry state of affairs? To comprehend the
> magnitude of the economic tragedy that the KR has become, one has to look at
> a few critical numbers. The original central Railway estimate envisaged 867
> kms of mainline, 28 kms of tunnels and 23 kms of bridge. But the KRC line being
> built consists of 760 kms of mainline, 82 kms of tunnels and 89 kms of
> bridges.
>
> This means the KRC reduced the length of its railway by 107 kms. Going by this
> criteria most people expected a cheaper railway. But the steep increase in
> tunnels and bridges have dashed this hope. The KRC added 54 kms of tunnels
> and 66 kms of bridges to its alignment. In terms of costs, this is the
> equivalent of adding 1,800 kms to the length of the railroad since tunnel and
> bridge
> construction costs generally work out at least 15 times the cost of other
> railway formation - i.e. cuttings or embankments.
>
> In other words, costwise, the KRC is actually building a railway 2,600 km in
> length when compared with the 867 kms of the original (Central Railway )
> alignment which had the additional advantage of being surveyed in detail by
> competent departmental engineers.
>
> In its hurry to trumpet early completion of the project to please political
> bosses, the KRC bypassed the mandatory surveys and soil tests required under
> the
> IREC. During the Oza high level committee hearings, it emerged that the KRC
> began construction on a notional alignment drawn on topo sheets rather than
> following detailed ground level studies. In other words, the KRC commenced
> working on an adhoc route, and naturally soon found it had to make on site
> alignment and structural changes to suit the terrain as they encountered it.
>
> These played havoc with cost and time frames, not to mention the effect on the
> logistics and the need to negotiate new contracts in the middle of the
> project.
>
> In Goa, the KRC got rapidly bogged down in the khazan lands. These khazans
> are reclaimed areas which lie below sea level and are protected by a
> combination of bunds and sluice gates. Experts on khazans had warned the
> KRC that these khazans were incapable of supporting railway embankments of
> more than four metres height. In fact, they recommended avoiding the khazans
> altogether because of their unpredictable behaviour which can vary according
> to changing seasons and other parameters. Despite all these warnings, the KRC
> went into the khazans with medium to high embankments, claiming they were a
> hightech organisation using the latest sand piling/sand drain technology.
>
> The technology failed. At Cortalim alone - almost the centre point between
> Mangalore and Roha - embankments collapsed under their own weight, about
> 20 times. This has happened even before the embankments have reached their
> full heights. When the embankments do reach their full height they will have
> the tracks (permanent way) - weighing about five tonnes per metre - laid on
> top.
> Trains weighing thousands of tonnes have to run over these tracks at high
> speed. The axle load of these locomotives will be about 30 tonnes. The
> combination of
> the dynamic load of the moving train and the vibrations will only compound the
> instability of the high embankments. To make matters worse, the KRC
> contractors have not compacted the mud in these embankments.
>
> In the absence of soil tests, the KRC has run into serious trouble with some
> of its tunnels both in Goa and Karnataka. It has had dozens of tunnel
> collapses,
> causing death and injury. Much tunneling work is still to be done. The cost of
> these tunnels are as high as Rs 150,000 per metre. The original estimates were
> Rs 15,000 per metre. At the Honnavar tunnel, the chief engineer says he can
> only progress eight metres a month in the soft soil.
>
> Instead of doing the difficult long cycle jobs first, the KRC started on the
> easier jobs. It selected critical, visible spots where it could show the public
> and
> the press tremendous physical progress on the ground. It also fooled itself
> with a
> high weighted average on the basis of the physical progress of the project as
> a whole. However, the critical path got stretched out because key operations
> like soft soil tunnels and tricky embankments got it bogged down.
>
> Our estimates show the interest burden, as of today, on the KRC is about Rs 80
> lakh per day. The railway is also losing Rs 3 lakh per day operating the 232
> km completed sectors. If the cost of repairs is added, the figure will be
> mindboggling. The new foreign loans carry an interest burden of 7.8 per cent.
> Though there is no need to pay the principal or interest for the first five
> years, the entire sum plus interest (Rs 747 crore) must be paid within the
> eighth year.
> The KRC's past record on cost estimates is ad hoc at best. It started at Rs
> 1,042 crore in 1990, raised the estimate to Rs 1,385 crore in 1992, Rs 1,800
> crore in 1993, Rs 2,050 crore in 1994 and Rs 2,480 crore in March 1995.
> Now the estimate has been further raised to Rs 2,784 crore. These estimates do
> not include deferred payments to L&T at 18 per cent once the railway is
> completed for expensive form works.
>
> Assuming that an economic miracle produces an additional Rs 1,000 crore
> required (not just Rs 300 crore as claimed), the railway may be commissioned
> mid or end 1998. But the BOT agreement is in tatters. The rate of return
> obviously cannot cope with the fourfold cost increase and the four year delay
> in completion.
>
> What is the KRC's potential for earnings? They are largely negative. The KR
> will have to be subsidised, since it will not pay for itself. The railroad will
> work to only a quarter of its designed capacity. The flow of traffic will be
> slowed
> down considerably for many reasons that are beyond KRC's control. Year after
> year,
> the monsoons will immobilise sections of the railway since it is built like a
> dam - unlike the CR alignment - across the entire watershed of the Konkan. A
> combination of poor soil conditions, heavy rain, shoddy construction and
> neglect will make the railway inoperative for six months in a year.
> Embankments,
> cuttings and tunnels will get waterlogged. Some of them will collapse and they
> can only be repaired after the monsoons. In the absence of connecting
> railways, traffic cannot be diverted on another route. Imagine the financial
> implication
> of having a 900 odd kilometre section totally immobilised.
>
> The 152 km section from Mumbai to Roha has been built piecemeal before the
> KRC was formed in 1990. We have inspected this section and noticed the
> ballast and sleepers used cannot handle top speeds of even 80 kmph. Again,
> this is a single track which will only add to the problem of speed.
>
> The KRC has neither motive power nor rolling stock to run the KR. It was
> relying on the Indian Railways to lease it the locomotives, coaches, and
> wagons. But the annual report of the KRC, for 1994-1995, says the IR has backed
> out
> of this commitment. Where will the KRC go shopping for these items?
>
> The result of all these will be that the tariff earning capability projected
> by the KRC in 1990 will be reduced by about 75 per cent.
> Faced with this abysmal scenario, Mr Sreedharan, KRC's chairman, has been
> shouting from the roof tops that he will raise Rs 100 additional crore by
> leasing /selling Konkan Railway assets! Mr Sreedharan should realise by now
> that the
> KRC does not have any assets. It has only liabilities.
>
> A railway that should have paid off its loans and been transferred to the
> Indian Railways in 10 years will now have to be subsidised throughout its life
> from
> day one.Most important, the private investments made in thousands of crores may
> never be repaid. These investors will get neither their interests nor
> dividends. They may even lose their capital.
>
> The KR, if completed, will reduce the rail journey between Mumbai and
> Mangalore by more than 50 per cent. With this distance being reduced by about
> 1000 km, a cash strapped KRC will be forced to maximise its profits by
> carrying through traffic. Thus the Konkan region between Mumbai and
> Mangalore will neither be served as points of originating traffic or as
> destinations. It will be relegated to the unexalted status of a mere corridor.
> Hence there will be no economic development.
>
>
>
>
>
>

From: sshankarnarayan <sshankarnarayan@kpmg.email

Subject: Re(2): Konkan Railway ...

Date: 25 Nov 1996 10:38:00 -0500


Harsh, thanks for the feed back. I hope not every thing mentioned in the article
is true and that we see the project completed in the near future.

-Sridhar Shankar

From: Sri Raju <sraju@borland.email

Subject: Shatapdi Express timings

Date: 25 Nov 1996 07:37:00 -0500


Hello,
Hope it is ok to ask this question in this forum.

Can some one let me know that timings of Madras-Coimbatore and Bangalore-Madras
Shatapdi (sp?) express?
Thanks in anticipation.

Regards,

Srikanth.

From: db2adm <db2adm@VNET.email

Subject: WACM-2

Date: 25 Nov 1996 17:38:00 -0500


Dheeraj,

> I am not sure if it was reported on IRFCA, but the Rajdhani
>between Vadodara and BCT is no longer hauled by dual-diesel.
>They have an enhanced version of WACM (WACM-2 ??) which has
>a max speed of 110 or 120.

Very interesting! I do have a picture of pair of WDM2s, painted in red
with yellow stripe, hauling 16 coaches Rajdhani. Well! It has become
a history now.

Now one dumb question. The WACM and WDM2 shared the same traction
motors. When Jammu Tavi Express was introduced with a speed of
110 kms., the same WACM hauled it without any modifications and
16 coaches load.

It is true that I am fetching my memory far behind. If I am not
mistaken, WACMs had 28 notches in master controller, with notches
# 4, 14, 21 and 28 designated for continuous operation, i.e.
cruising. The speedometer had a dial capable of showing only 120km.
and all the mail/express trains cruised at 100 kms. on notch 21
plus inductive shunt placed on it's fourth notch and motors
connected in parallel.

I've also seen once, WACM running at 28 notch with shunt at fourth
notch. The speedometer was stuck at 120 kms. even though this train,
Jammu Tavi, that was 4 hours late, was cruising at over 140 kms.
(It was easy to calculate speed based on time taken to pass ten km.
markers by the side of track. This was during my visit in 83 when
I travelled in driving cab from BCT to Surat.)

So the question is: were WACM rated at 100-110 kms. due to
structural design or design specs of traction motors or
both? Or was it that they were rated so because someone did
not want to violate some bureaucratic rule? Or that the current
rating is based on 26 passenger coaches load?

Any information will be appreciated.

Prakash

From: Kandaswami, Auroprem* <Kandaswami#m#_Auroprem*@msgate.email

Subject: Re: Borivali-Virar Quadrupling

Date: 26 Nov 1996 04:51:00 -0500


No bidders for WR's four-track corridor project

EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE


MUMBAI, November 25: Having failed to rope in private parties for
converting the Borivli Virar suburban rail section into a four-track
corridor, the Western Railway may have to bear the entire cost of the
project which may cross Rs 200 crore.

Earlier this year, after the railways called for bidders for this
ambitious project, only two contractors responded. Out of them, one
was rejected on eligibility grounds while the other asked the WR to
deposit Rs 250 crore as collateral security in case their investment
did not yield results in the coming years. This proposal too was not
accepted.

Sources stated that the two companies, namely Mukand Limited and
Escorts Limited had responded to the WR tender notice in leading
newspapers during the tenure of the former railway minister Suresh
Kalmadi.

The WR had planned to have the section expanded under the
Build-Operate-Lease-Transfer (BOLT) scheme under which the private
party would invest for constructing the required project and after its
successful completion would collect toll to recover the investment
cost.

The contractors also were supposed to lease commercial spaces
around the section and gather revenue.

The final stage was of transferring the property back to the
railways for their exclusive usage after their investments were
recovered.

The scheme to rope in private contractors got punctured following
poor response from contractors. The project announced by the rail a
few years ago was aimed at providing more services to those residing
in the newly developed far-flung western suburbs beyond Borivli upto
Virar.

Sources stated that the project will take at least a decade to be
fully operational and would take off only if the WR administration
decides to bear the entire cost itself.

They added that the project can become a reality if the railway
minister stops spending on formation of new zones and attends to the
largest gross earner of the Indian railways.

Meanwhile, the rail administration has decided to come forward with
incentives as a tool to rope in private participation for their
developmental projects.

Kirit Somaiya, president of the Mumbai unit of the BJP and a member
of the newly constituted co-ordination committee for improving
suburban rail services said,``The BOLT scheme which was announced
earlier has been scrapped due to poor response. The issue of the WR
bearing the entire cost of the project would be discussed.''

He added,``The railways have decided to give some concessions to
private parties if they come forward for converting the section into
four tracks.'' Meanwhile, discussions between the committee members
and the railway administration are on, and the next meeting may come
up with the results, he assured.

Meanwhile, even when no information was made available on the
incentives from officials, sources said the WR administration will try
to make changes to enable contractors to recover their investments in
a relatively short time.

Somaiya has further claimed that the privatisation plans of
railways which were attempted by the earlier governments have gone
haywire.

Besides, other projects, namely Diva-Panvel and Panvel-Karjat are
expected to meet with a similar fate and finally the entire cost to
make these operational is expected to fall on the railway
administration's head, sources added.

From: Harsh Kumar <harsh@krcl.email

Subject: Re: Shatapdi Express timings

Date: 26 Nov 1996 13:36:00 -0500


At 09:37 AM 25-11-96 PST, Sri Raju wrote:
>Hello,
>Hope it is ok to ask this question in this forum.
>
>Can some one let me know that timings of Madras-Coimbatore Shatapdi (sp?)
express?

Dep 15:20 arr at Coimbatore 22:00

> and Bangalore-Madras Shatapdi (sp?) express?

Dep. 16:20 Arr MAS 21:05

With best wishes.
Harsh Kumar harsh@krcl.email
Chief Manager IT +91-22-757 2015 (Off)
Konkan Railway Corporation
Belapur Bhawan, Sector 9 CBD +91-22-757 2420 (Fax)
Belapur, Navi Mumbai 400 614, India

From: Kandaswami, Auroprem* <Kandaswami#m#_Auroprem*@msgate.email

Subject: Lifeline Express in Coal Belt

Date: 26 Nov 1996 07:55:00 -0500



BHELATAND (Bihar), Nov. 25.

With none to tend to them, the needy and ``ignorant'' parents pour in
from the rural areas for a lifeline that would correct the deformities
of their children and put them on the `rails' for a better destination
in life.

Yes, thanks to Tata Steel, the Lifeline Express, the world's first
hospital on rails jointly sponsored by Impact India Foundation and
Indian Railways, is here. It could not have chosen a better
destination to conduct its 26th camp, ever since it took the first
step in 1991, with an aim to mitigate ``physical and emotional''
sufferings.

The three-coach Express arrived in this part of the coal belt that
falls under Dhanbad district on November 19 and immediately addressed
itself to promote the cause of ``restoring sight, hearing and
mobility'' among coal miners and the poor rural masses, including the
tribals, for most of whom proper medical care is still a distant
dream.

The camp at the Tata Bhelatand Washery Railway Siding was formally
inaugurated by the TISCO Managing Director, Dr. J. J. Irani, over the
weekend and the highlight of the function was that the guests were
welcomed by the villagers themselves acknowledging the initiative
against disablement.

The villagers response has so far been tremendous. Out of the 2,000
who got themselves registered for treatment, 1,500 have been
screened. That has been made possible by the awareness campaign
launched in all the 10 blocks of the district by the Tata Steel Rural
Development Society (TSRDS) and the block doctors of the State
Government.

The first battle is against post-polio deformities. Most of the nearly
300 children below 12 years of age who have been examined have not had
proper treatment. That tells the sad tale about medical care in
general.

Of these 30 have been operated upon, while 79 others were presented
with calipers, three with tricycles and two with wheelchairs. Cases
involving minor surgeries requiring no more than two to three days of
post-operation care are taken up. As many as 24 children are at the
Tata Community Hall where they and their attendants are provided with
free medicine and food.

For Ansar Khan and Rubia Khan the Lifeline Express has come as a
boon. It was for the first time that the doctors suggested operating
their seven-year-old son Babbar, crippled for five years, whose both
limbs were operated on Friday last.

Babbar is their seventh child and they do not hide that they have an
eighth. None of them had been administered polio vaccine. The
40-year-old Ansar, who earns his livelihood by repairing tyres, had
never heard of the pulse polio campaign carried out with much fanfare
throughout the country in January last.

It was his eldest son who goes to college who suggested that Babbar be
taken to the camp.

The same is the case of Mrs. Jagni Bhrini, whose husband is a coal
miner. Her three-year-old daughter was affected by polio when she was
just learning to crawl. She had no knowledge about preventive cures
nor did she have the money to correct her daughter's impairment.

But eight-year-old Bhagirath Prasad Mahto's case is different. In
contrast to the other two cases which reflect the burden of poverty
and ignorance of primary health care, Gopal Mahto had his eldest son
vaccinated against polio but had not thought it necessary to grant the
same immunity to Bhagirath who fell a victim when just an infant of
five to six months. Gopal now says with remorse: ``It is my
mistake. What can I do? He will suffer all his life.''

Even as he stands waiting to get his son registered, his friend,
Kartik Chand Tiwari, says that fate had ordained so for
Bhagirath. Certainly much needs to be done to counter such notions.

The Lifeline Express would deal with polio cases till November 30,
then take up hearing impairment cases before taking up eye- related
cases. They have a success rate of 80 per cent in post- polio
operations, and a near 100 per cent in eye and ear related operations.

This is the fourth camp of its kind in Bihar and the third one
sponsored by Tatas. All four have so far been held in plateau region
close to their factories and collieries to pass on some ``benefits''
to the residents as well.

Impact India's initiative would be better served if it adhered to some
kind of uniformity and does something to reach out to the remote
people in north and central Bihar as well.

From: db2adm <db2adm@VNET.email

Subject: Railway News

Date: 28 Nov 1996 06:44:00 -0500


The Indian Express
Thursday, November 28 1996

Naik opposes moving of WR headquarters

MUMBAI, November 27: Member of Parliament, Ram Naik has flayed the
move of the rail administration to shift the Western Railway
headquarters from Mumbai to Ahmedabad in Gujarat. In a statement
released here, Naik has warned that any move on the part of the
government to shift the Western Railway headquarters to Ahmedabad
will be fought tooth and nail.

The announcement of the shifting was made by Railway Minister Ram
Vilas Paswan on November 16, 1996, at Ahemdabad, which was opposed
by Ram Naik. Criticizing the decision, Naik said that Mumbai is
the financial capital of India and the Western Railway plays an
important role in the city's industrial and commercial activities.
Even administratively it would not be favorable, he added.

Naik has further stated that instead of accepting the long-
standing demand of having a separate zone for Mumbai, Paswan has
`added insult to the injury of commuters' by making such an
announcement. Naik has demanded the withdrawal of the proposal
and to discuss the issue with all the Member of Parliaments, who
belong to the city, while raising the issue in the Lok Sabha on
November 26 during the zero hour.
===============================

WR focuses attention on expenses, merrily safety norms

MUMBAI, November 27: The Western Railway (WR) administration, in
an attempt to economize its expenses, is compromising on the
safety of passengers as evident by the recent derailment of
a bogie of a suburban EMU rake which took place near the entrance
of the Mumbai Central carshed, allege running staff of the Western
Railway. While the bogie which derailed during the shunting of a
rake was not relocated till late Monday night, both the suburban
and the mail/express services were disrupted for over four hours
till late Sunday night before normalcy was restored.

The derailment has spread discontent among the running staff who
claim that WR's steps to save money may lead to disasters in the
future. The fact that the shunters have been asked to operate the
EMU rakes within the carshed is a wrong step. Earlier the motormen
used to operate the rakes themselves in the car shed but now this
practice has been scrapped, just to save a few thousands, they
add.

Some motormen who spoke to Express Newsline claimed that a major
accident was averted by the motorman of a Borivli-bound train
which was following the empty rake. The motorman saw a derailed
bogie infringed very close to the slow suburban track and
immediately screeched to a halt, thus avoiding a certain accident.
``If the rake had not been halted by the motorman, the accident
would have been a major one and many lives would have been lost as
trains are jam-packed during the peak hours,'' asserted a motorman
requesting anonymity. They claim that the derailment took place
due to lack of knowledge of the shunting staff who, according to
them, are not trained to operate trains with the skill and
expertise of motormen.

According to sources, the duty of shunting rakes into the car
sheds was that of the motormen earlier. For some months now, the
administration, to economize on the expenditure, has discontinued
this age-old system and has asked the shunters to carry out
shunting operations in and out of the car sheds. The shunting
staff are not trained fully to operate the rakes. The recent
derailment would have resulted in a major disaster which was
averted because of the alertness of the motorman of the train
coming from behind, who saw the rake being shunted but failed to
understand its route. Fearing an accident, he halted the rake at a
safe distance and averted a major mishap, sources claimed.

According to Deepak Gandhi of the Bombay Suburban Rail Passengers
Association, ``The bogie may have derailed on a changeover point''
which is meant to shift the rake from one track to another.

Officials stated that the shunters are only employed for
locomotives and long distance mail/express trains. The question of
a shunter operating the EMU rake in the car shed does not arise,
they added. Clarifications regarding the claims made by the rail
staff were not made available to Express Newsline as despite
repeated efforts, the public relations officials were reportedly
``busy in a meeting'' for three days. When personally contacted on
Wednesday afternoon, PRO Siddheshwar Telugu promised to give the
information by 6 pm over the phone. However, repeated attempts to
contact proved futile.
==================================

My two cents on the second news item re: EMU derailment

This news reporting is partial in nature and not supported by facts.

1) WR discontinued use of Motormen for carshed shunting in 85,
and not few months ago.
2) Shunting is done exclusively inside and outside carshed on
the tracks that are NOT used for suburban traffic normally.
Exception is Platform #1 at Mahalaxmi station that is used
for suburban traffic on Sundays only when horse races are
held at Mahalaxmi race course. All movements of EMUs beyond
carshed are handled exclusively by motormen. This is
mandated by law, governing traffic on tracks used to ferry
passengers.
3) Cost reduction was NOT a factor to discontinue usage of
motormen. On the contrary, carshed crew assembled EMUs
efficiently, themselves.
4) Shunter (or Shunting driver) is a term used for entry
level grade C drivers (engineers). Carshed crew involved
in shunting are generally asst. chargemen who do not
have aspiration to become loco engineers, although many
of them opted to become motormen who are grade B engineers.
5) Although exact location (North end or South end of carshed)
is not specified in the news, based on other symptoms, i.e.
disruption of through traffic, I believe the incident
occurred on north end (Mahalaxmi station). The speed limit
for down local line there, is 25 km/hr due to presence
of diamond crossing on sharp curve. This reduces chances
of high speed accident significantly, contrary to the
impression created by news item.

From: db2adm <db2adm@VNET.email

Subject: Railway News

Date: 29 Nov 1996 08:06:00 -0500


The Financial Express
Friday, November 29 1996

HC issues show cause to Konkan Rly over tender

NEW DELHI, November 28: A Konkan Railway tender worth Rs 113 crore
is in the eye of a storm with one of the competitors moving a writ
petition in the Delhi high court alleging favoritism in the
tendering process. Justice Lokeshwar Prasad issued notices to the
respondents including the ministry and executive director of
Railway Board on Thursday to show cause why the tender process
should not be stayed on December 3.

A global tender was floated by the Railways in 1996 for supply of
accident relief cranes. The major objection to tender was on the
ground that bids were invited only from limited parties, ignoring
general public interest.

A German crane manufacturing company, Maschinebau KIrow Leipzig
Rail & Port AG, which claims to be the world leader in this field,
pointed out the loop holes in the tendering process, leading to
strong conclusion of bungling at all levels. Maschinebau has
complained that besides being completely excluded from the 1996
tender, a previous one floated in 1994, which was awarded to
them, had also been cancelled without giving any reasons.

The Railways has awarded tenders for supply of eight cranes to
another German company, Mannesmann Demag Fodertechnick AG,
Gottwald with Rolls Royce Material Handling Ltd, Cowans Sheldon of
UK being asked to supply four cranes. The petitioner has stated
that even the bare technical specifications were not met by these
companies. It appears that the Railways had specified that the
speed of the cranes must be a minimum of 90 km/hr. However, the
technical specifications of the two successful tenders was only
45-60 km/hr.

Maschinebau also says that the price offered by them is 25 per
cent lower than that offered by Mannesmann and Rolls Royce. While
they offered each crane at the rate of DM 23.7 million, Mannesmann
offered for DM 29 million and Rolls Royce offered for DM 32.4
million.

The petitioner claims that it indisputably is the most suitable
contestant in the tendering process since it is able to deliver
the cranes immediately, whereas the other two have given a
time schedule of nine to 15 months. Maschinebau has also alleged
that the Railways did not even consider their bid. Although a
study team was sent by the Railways to inspect manufacturing
facilities of all the three players, the report submitted by them
is purported to be doctored.

It has been complained in the petition that whereas Maschinebau
has supplied these machines to numerous countries including
Russia, US, Switzerland, Austria, Spain and Finland, the
report concluded that their supply was only to Russia and some
East European countries. Maschinebau asserts that whereas it has
the most modern manufacturing facilities and have recently
invested about DM 40 million (Rs 100 crore) for further
modernization, the study team determined that their workshop was
not sophisticated.

The task facing the Railways on December 3 will now be to explain
to the court how the public interest is served by accepting more
expensive bids for technically inferior machines.
==================================

From: db2adm <db2adm@VNET.email

Subject: Railway News

Date: 30 Nov 1996 06:49:00 -0500


The Indian Express
Saturday, November 30 1996

Plagued by rail fractures CR locals limp along

MUMBAI, November 29: A rail fracture on Central Railway (CR)
between Sandhurst Road and Masjid stations on Thursday morning
disrupted rush-hour traffic. CR track maintenance officials said a
change in weather conditions may have caused the fracture.

They claimed that heavy load, coupled with temperature
fluctuations, lead to contraction and expansion of tracks
resulting in damage to rails. Also, absence of adequate quantity
of ballast (stone bed meant to provide cushioning effect) under
the rails worsens the situation. Such fractures are common on
Central Railway despite tall claims made by the officials about
regular inspections.

Explaining the phenomenon, an official said the rails are laid on
sleepers without any additional support. If the proportion of
ballast is inadequate, the tracks dig into the ground. The heavy
weight of rakes also leads to frequent contraction and expansion
causing fractures. This phenomenon is not common on tracks outside
the city as the soil there is hard and the ballast cushioning is
adequate. Within the city, however the sub-soil being weak, even
when ballast stock is regularly replenished on the tracks it gets
washed away by rain-water.

Another factor that makes track maintenance extremely difficult
for CR is its tight schedule. Movement of goods, mail/express and
locals leaves CR maintenance squads with little time to carry out
repairs. The average length of a rail used on the suburban network
is 13 meters.

Officials revealed that in other countries welding of tracks has
yielded good results. ``The concept has been introduced in India
also but cannot be employed on the suburban network as the
distance between two stations is less.'' Secondly, there are too
many change-over points, connecting the slow main line with the
fast line. The CR's PR officials remained unavailable for comment
despite repeated attempts.
=============================================

CR freight service

MUMBAI, November 29: The Central Railway has improved the
originating freight loading during the year 1996-97 (April to
October) by 3.22 per cent.

In a statement it has claimed that it loaded 21.49 million tons of
originating freight compared to 20.82 million tons in 1995-96.
Similarly, passenger and goods earnings are Rs 721.62 crore
and Rs 1,271.74 crore respectively during April-October 1996-97,
compared to the Rs 667.99 crore and Rs 1220.89 crore achieved
during April-October 1995-96.
=============================================

The Financial Express
Saturday, November 30 1996

Konkan Railway Bonds gets a head start

With the year drawing to a close and tax planning gaining
momentum, tax-free debt instruments are catching investors' fancy.
Among them are the 10.5 per cent tax-free Konkan Railway bonds.
Of the bonds that are open for subscription, KRC was initially the
clear favorite. The CBDT clearance for tax rebate under section
88 made the issue very attractive, especially for investors in
the high-tax bracket. Says an official of a Delhi-based brokering
outfit, "In two days we have a witnessed a very good response from
retail investors for the KRC bond issue." According to an SBI Caps
official, "Konkan Railways has a better brand image and, hence,
will, have the edge."

He feels the enthusiastic response from retail investors will see
the KRC issue through. According to him, the institutional
response can be gauged only after the issue has been open for a
week. According to initial reports, the KRC has already mobilized
Rs 10-11 crore within two days.

Konkan Railways is targeting individuals in the high-tax bracket
with a Rs 150 crore bond issue with a green shoe option of up to
Rs 50 crore. A notable feature of the issue is that there is no
maximum limit for subscription. Interest on KRC bonds is exempt
from income-tax without any limit and investment in bonds will be
exempt from wealth tax. Further, individual investors can avail of
a 20 per cent tax rebate under section 88 for investments up to Rs
70,000 subject to a three-year lock-in. The YTM with section 88
for an investor in the 40 per cent tax bracket works out to 23.91
per cent.
========================================

From: db2adm <db2adm@VNET.email

Subject: Railway News

Date: 01 Dec 1996 06:25:00 -0500


No special train

The Central Railway has announced that due to some technical problems
the AC three-tier coach in 859 down Mumbai-Gandhidham-Mumbai holiday
special will not run till further notice. Passengers who have reserved
their tickets for the above train and who do not desire to travel in
Class I or sleeper coaches can opt for cancellation and get the refund.

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