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From: db2adm <db2adm@VNET.email

Subject: New design coaches introduced by Western Zone of Indian Railways

Date: 23 Dec 1996 05:40:00 -0500


Welcome to Gita Modgil, our new member!

> The rake is capable of running at 120 kmph. This leap forward in
> rail technology has been possible due the tremendous inputs given
> by a band of dedicated german technicians over the past couple of
> years.

If I am not mistaken, Rajdhani Express had booked speed of 120 Km/h
and the coaches were designed to meet safety at this speed.

However, I disagree with the comments by "anonymous" officer. The
changes in bogie design were due for a long time. It is however,
unclear how POH (Periodic Over Haul) time is extended to 18 months
from present 12 months.

Prakash

From: db2adm <db2adm@VNET.email

Subject: Railway News

Date: 24 Dec 1996 18:49:00 -0500


The Indian Express
Tuesday, December 24 1996

Salem-Bangalore rail line ready

CHENNAI, December 23: Southern Railway has completed the
conversion of the metre-gauge line into broad-gauge on the Salem-
Bangalore 197-km section, and is now ready for inauguration for
passenger traffic.

The gauge conversion project in the section would address two key
problems -- one of decongesting the high-intensity traffic
corridor between Jolarpet-Bangalore and Jolarpet-Salem and the
other of connecting Bangalore directly to Coimbatore and the hill-
station of Ooty, providing a tourist package for the people. The
line also gives connection to the industrially important town of
Hosur and Dharmapuri.

The railways were yet to decide on the number of trains to be
introduced on the broad gauge section. When the section was on
metre gauge, only three trains were being run, and essentially,
the section was being used to move goods' traffic. But the problem
of transshipment of goods was being faced by the industry and the
decision to convert the line into broad gauge was taken after a
thorough study.

Railway sources confirmed that the delay in the inauguration was
due to the non-availability of adequate broad gauge coaches.
Also, the section had not been electrified and would be run with
diesel engines.

Meanwhile, the Railway Minister had recently announced the Karur-
Salem broad gauge conversion and had earmarked a token provision
for the project. The link would give a shorter route between Salem
and Dindigal and the trains going down south need not go via Erode
and Thirupur.

Southern Railway Chief Engineer (Gauge Conversion) Gopinathan Nair
told mediapersons that the Rs 186-crore project was completed in a
record one year, despite some hitches due to the lack of funds in
between. The project was speeded up after the Railway Ministry
gave sufficient funds, giving a momentum to the scheme. The
conversion work was completed as early as August 1996 and the
section was subsequently open for goods traffic. The Commissioner
of Railway Safety (CRS), Bangalore, who inspected the tracks in
September and October had cleared the section for passenger
traffic and had permitted a maximum speed of 80 kmph on straight
paths and 65 kmph on curved paths.

The route had a 24-km ghat section and had several deep curves.
The track had been laid as per international standards and was
comparable to the tracks in France, where trains run at a speed of
about 400 kmph.
=========================================

From: GITA MODGIL <gita@giasbma.email

Subject: Re: New design coaches introduced by Western Zone of Indian Railways

Date: 25 Dec 1996 21:33:00 -0500


The rajdhani coaches were designed and manufactured at the Indian Railway
production units.The rake upgradation has now been carried out for the
first time in a railway repair workshop.It involved setting much higher
standards of workmanship and inspection.A complete change in the work
culture had to be done.
The overhaul period can now be increased to 18 months as the coaches have
been built to more exacting quality standards.Also the brake rigging
design has been changed resulting in a more robust and reliable coach.
The anonymous person is not too far wrong.The Indian railway engineers are
capable of designing coaches without help from anyone outside.
Is there anyone out there who has passed out from the Indian Railways
Institute of Mechanical &Electrical engineering,Jamalpur?





gita@giasbma.email

********************************************************************************

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

Subject: Rail safety norms being violated

Date: 26 Dec 1996 04:56:00 -0500


INDIAN EXPRESS - NEW DELHI, Dec. 25.

The Capital is sitting on a volcano of sorts or,
to be precise, on the pithead of a rail disaster as safety norms that
ought to be strictly adhered at railway stations have been thrown to
the winds, exposing them to potential mishaps.

According to highly placed official sources who
spoke on condition of anonymity, the New Delhi Railway Station has the
capacity to handle only 104 trains in terms of the outer limit
prescribed by the safety regulations. As against this the number of
trains operating from this prestigious station is around 190 _ almost
double the prescribed capacity.

Similarly, as a consequence of the excessive load
or pressure of trains, each track serves a train after an interval of
four minutes. Significantly, the norms stipulate a gap of 15 minutes
between two successive trains serviced on a particular track platform.

The story is no different when it comes to other
railway stations _ the old Delhi Railway Station, Nizamuddin or for
that matter Kishanganj or Delhi Cantonment.

According to the insiders, the precarious
situation is the creation of the top management trying to give a
command performance, compromising on safety. It is in fact the outcome
of the ``Yes, Railway Minister-syndrome'' which continues to plague
the Railways with the authorities trying to oblige every successive
presiding deity at Rail Bhavan to earn kudos.

The sources say: `` We are fortunate that so far no
major rail mishap has taken place. It could result from a mechanical
failure or human error or a system collapse.''

From: db2adm <db2adm@VNET.email

Subject: Railway News

Date: 28 Dec 1996 07:49:00 -0500


The Indian Express
Saturday, December 28 1996

Mormugao port to be linked to Konkan Railway line

PANAJI, December 27: Union Minister for Surface Transport T G
Venkatraman said here today that Mormugoa port was on the
threshold of a new era of growth. It is the only port in the
country connected by a meter-guage railway. The New Year would
bring bright and happy news to the port. Within a few months from
now, the port would be connected by a broad-gauge line both to
South Central Railway and the Konkan Railway, he added. This would
not only restructure the rail line within the port, but also
reorganise the handling system and infrastructure of the port to
handle much larger variety of cargo in future, Venkatraman said.

From: db2adm <db2adm@VNET.email

Subject: Railway News

Date: 30 Dec 1996 07:51:00 -0500


Bomb Explodes on Indian Train

Monday, December 30, 1996 11:54 am EST

NEW DELHI, India (AP) -- A powerful bomb exploded inside a packed Indian
express train today, United News of India reported. Preliminary reports
indicate he explosion ripped apart three cars of the New Delhi-bound
Brahmaputra Express in Assam state, UNI reported. The train was carrying
at least 1,200 passengers.

"Three coaches were badly damaged. Three other coaches besides the
engine also got derailed under the impact of the blast," UNI said.
There was no immediate word on casualties, but UNI said railroads
officials expected "heavy casualties."

From: db2adm <db2adm@VNET.email

Subject: How sad!

Date: 30 Dec 1996 09:43:00 -0500


Indian Express

Top Railway official shunted

CHENNAI, December 29: The Union Railway Ministry has shunted a
top railway official belonging to the Southern Railway with
headquarters at Chennai to North Frontier Railway with
headquarters in Guwahati, following pressure brought to Railway
Minister Ram Vilas Paswan from the local SC/ST association. In
railway parlance it means a punishment transfer. A local order was
issued by the Southern Railway headquarters recently following a
message from the Railway Board transferring Southern Railway Chief
Personnel Officer P Murugan to Guwahati in the same capacity.

This is not the first such instance of shunting out officers in
key positions based on the whims and fancies of politicians in the
recent past. Only a couple of weeks ago, Waltair Divisional
Railway Manager (DRM), South Central Railway, was asked to hand
over charges immediately after a politician complained against him
to the railway minister.

The CPO had negated several requests for favors like transfers,
postings etc. He had been very strict while dealing with them and
did not entertain the SC/ST association. Annoyed with the
officer's stubbornness, the SC/ST association launched a campaign
and challenged openly that they would get him transferred out. The
association leaders have been issuing threats to other officers
too that they would meet the same fate if they did not fall in
line.

From: db2adm <db2adm@VNET.email

Subject:

Date: 30 Dec 1996 09:44:00 -0500


ubject:Railway freight movement slows down in Nov

Indian Express

Railway freight movement slows down in Nov

NEW DELHI, December 29: The rate of growth of freight movement in
the Railways registered a sharp decline during November. While
freight movement had been growing at around 2 million tons
in the preceding months, this has now slowed down to about one
million tons over the corresponding period last year.

According to sources, the slow-down reflects the recession in
industry, as a consequence of which lesser amount of freight was
being offered to the Railways. This was evident in the movement of
steel and cement during this month. The recession in the
engineering goods industry, for instance, had reduced the demand
for steel in the economy. The movement of coal, however, has
remained buoyant and has been largely responsible for buttressing
the volume of freight moved by the Railways.

The Railways moved about 260 million tons of freight during the
first eight months of the current financial year, out of which 126
million tons were accounted by coal. The cyclone in Andhra
Pradesh has been yet another factor that adversely affected the
volume of rail traffic, and even the movement of foodgrains was
hit in the State.

The Railways have gradually been losing out to road transport over
the years. Having started with a share of 80 per cent of the total
goods moved during the fifties, the Railways have now been reduced
to carrying only 40 per cent of the total freight.

From: S. Kumar <s.kumar@qm.email

Subject: proposed Salem-Karur link

Date: 02 Jan 1997 14:22:00 -0500


A Happy New Year to all IRFCA'ers.

If I have my geography correct, the proposed Salem-Karur link via
Namakkal would require a new bridge over the Kaveri. It seems
strange that they don't connect Salem directly with Tiruchi (via
Namakkal) instead by connecting the new line just north of Srirangam (to the
existing Chennai-Tiruchi line) on the north bank
of the Kollidam. In fact, this is the route most buses take today. Even though
this line will be longer than the
proposed Salem-Karur line, it will connect Salem with Tiruchi
directly and avoid the expense of building a new bridge over the
Kaveri. In my opinion this is better than trying to save 30 km over
the existing link via Erode. The traffic problem between Salem and
Erode could be handled by constructing a third track over the 50 km
distance (at least upto the East bank of the Kaveri near Erode).

Kumar

From: db2adm <db2adm@VNET.email

Subject: Railway News

Date: 02 Jan 1997 06:32:00 -0500


The Indian Express
Thursday, January 2 1997

Fairy Queen rewrites railway history

NEW DELHI, January 1: Have you been wanting to go on a romantic
journey ? Your dreams will be fulfilled with `Fairy Queen', the
oldest working steam engine which will chug out of Delhi next
month. History will be rewritten when the 140-year-old sleek steam
locomotive pulls out of New Delhi railway station on February 1 on
its way to the historic town of Alwar in Rajasthan. From there,
the same day, she will take her privileged guests to Sariska Tiger
Reserve for an overnight stay.

Visit the national rail museum, which has been home to the Fairy
Queens to get a vivid picture of how these black beauties romanced
the length and breadth of the vast Indian sub-continent. Of the 64
exhibits at the national rail museum, its inspector S C Narela
loves the Fairy Queen best. Why? "Because it is not only beautiful
to look at, but she is one of the oldest working steam locos. She
functioned well in the prime of her life and is still alive," he
says.

Preserved in its original colour, shape and form, the Queen is
being overhauled at Parampur loco workshop in Chennai. It would be
brought to Delhi soon to make the trip to Sariska which would cost
500 dollars. The age of railways came to India when 14 coaches
carrying 400 guests steamed out of Porbander to Thane, a distance
of 34 kms at 1530 hrs and reached Thane at 1645 hrs to a loud
applause of the gathering at the station and booming of 21 guns.
Since then, Indian Railways has travelled billions of kilometres,
now covering 62,000 kms of track carrying 11 million passengers
and one million tonnes freight every day.

The first major thrust in the development of Indian railways took
place when the Great Indian Peninsula railway from Bombay, and the
Eastern Railway from Calcutta first extended railway lines to the
Gangetic plain.The lines were started on an experimental basis,
for which an agreement was signed between the two railways in
1849.

The Indian Railways, which started with a humble effort has now
grown into not only a modern but the second largest railways
network in the world.Indian Railways has 7092 stations, with a
820-metre longest platform at Kharagpur station and the toy train
of Darjeeling winding up to one of the highest railway stations in
the world, attracting tourists from all over.

When the majestic steam locomotives ruled the Indian railway
tracks for decades, it was not only the common man who was
fascinated by these black beauties. There are many fables attached
to these engines, which have helped India march towards progress.
During its 142 years of whistles and huffs and puffs, these beauty
queens not only hauled India to the evening of twentieth century,
it has also witnessed tragedies in the form of accidents not
wholly bereft of hilarity. Do you know when the then British
masters decided to introduce attached toilets in the coaches ?

It happened following a letter written to Sahebganj railway
divisional office in West Bengal in 1909 by one Okhil Sen. The
letter went thus: "Dear Sir, I am arrive by passenger train
Ahmedpur station and my belly is too much swelling with jack
fruits. I am therefore went to privy. Just as I doing the
nuisance, that guard making whistles blow for trains to go off and
I am running with lotah in one hand and dhoti in one hand. In the
next when I fall over and expose all my shocking to man and female
on the platform. I am leaved Ahmedpur station." The letter went on
"this too much bad, if passenger go to make dung that dam guard
not wait for train minutes for him. I am therefore pray
your honour to make big fine on guard for public otherwise I am
making big report to papers."
====================================

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

Subject: Revised estimate sought for Salem-Karur BG line

Date: 02 Jan 1997 04:46:00 -0500


THE HINDU, January 2, 1997

CHENNAI, Jan. 1.

Hopes have revived on the Salem-Karur direct broad
gauge (BG) line project with the Railway Ministry accepting the
proposal.

The project to cover a distance of about 100 km
had been hanging fire for over a decade and half. Following an
announcement by the Railway Minister, Mr. Ramvilas Paswan, recently
confirming the inclusion of the project in the current year's project
the Southern Railway is busy preparing a revised estimate to be
submitted to the Ministry by the middle of the month.

First proposed in 1986, the direct BG line will
effect a reduction of about 30 km between Madurai/Tiruchi and
Salem. It will also relieve the congestion now experienced in the
Salem-Erode section and provide an alternative route from Trivandrum
to Salem.

The proposed link would be also a boon to the
newly formed Rajaji District as it will help further industrialisation
of the area, especially the poultry and truck-body-building centre,
Namakkal and Rasipuram where the southern region's sago and starch
units are concentrated.
At present these centres do not have rail
connection with the nearest junction, Salem, located about 50 km from
Namakkal. The revised cost of the project is approximately Rs 100
crores, according to Southern Railway sources.

The project was proposed 14 years ago by the Tamil
Nadu Government when the then Chief Secretary wrote to the Chairman,
Railway Board, on June 9, 1983, requesting that a survey be taken up
for providing a rail-link between Karur and Salem via Paramathi,
Namakkal and Rasipuram.

The survey was approved by Parliament and a sum of
Rs. 7.5 lakh was allotted in the 1985-86 budget. The Board in its
letter on September 18, 1985, communicated approval for the
preliminary engineering-cum-traffic survey. As per the survey the
total cost of the project would be Rs 61.99 crores with a return of
investment ranging between 15 and 20 per cent. But the Board felt that
the rate of return was exaggerated and ordered reappraisal survey in
December 1989. As per the reappraisal report, submitted to the Board
in July, 1990, the rate of return would be 13.71 per cent on a capital
investment of Rs 69.08 crores. The new line, according to the report,
would be profitable. But the Board was not convinced about the
viability and decided to keep it in abeyance.

Though there were representations from the State
Government as well as from the local MPs now and then for taking up
the proposal, the Railway Ministry did not take cognizance as it felt
that there were other priority areas. Even in the last pre-budget
meeting convened by the Minister in Madras, the local MPs expressed
dissatisfaction over the delay in sanctioning the new line.

When the project failed to find a place in the
1996 budget, railway officials here thought that the proposal was
shelved once and for all. But thanks to the pressure mounted by the
MPs as well as the State Government, the Minister announced the
decision to implement it and made a token provision of Rs. one
lakh. The project has now been `fully sanctioned' by the Railway
Ministry.

However, some Railway officials here are still
pessimistic wondering whether even the present announcement was made
just to please the local MPs and the State Government. The Ministry,
they point out, had made similar announcements for various other
projects in the past and had made token provisions. Like the
Dindigul-Karur BG project, which took nearly a decade to complete, the
execution of the new project could also be delayed. Acquisition of
land would be a major problem for the new line especially near Karur,
Paramathi and Namakkal where land prices were very high. The officials
fear that the Karur-Salem project would cut into the allotment of
other projects in Southern Railway. They felt that the new link should
not in anyway affect the ongoing Dindigul-Tiruchi-Chennai BG
conversion work, considering its importance.

From: db2adm <db2adm@VNET.email

Subject: Typo error in "Fairy Queen"

Date: 02 Jan 1997 07:00:00 -0500


Although I copied this article "as is" from Indian Express, I
found a typo error (by Indian Express) in it.

> The age of railways came to India when 14 coaches
> carrying 400 guests steamed out of Porbander to Thane, a distance
> of 34 kms at 1530 hrs and reached Thane at 1645 hrs....

Instead of Porbandar, it should read as Waadi Bander.

Prakash

From: db2adm <db2adm@VNET.email

Subject: Railway News

Date: 03 Jan 1997 03:56:00 -0500


The Indian Express

Derailment hits WR services

MUMBAI, January 2: Suburban services on the western line were
thrown out of gear today afternoon following the derailment of a
goods train at Kandivli. According to a spokesperson of the WR,
the derailment took place when the train was entering the Kandivli
yard at 12.42 pm. All fast trains were diverted onto the slow line
between Borivli and Goregaon.

Two Churchgate-bound 12-car rakes were stranded between Borivli
and Kandivli stations for over an hour, while three trains were
cancelled.
============================================
Derailment in Guntakal Division of SCR

Thirteen coaches of the Nagercoil-Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus
(Mumbai) Express derailed between Dharmavaram-Gooty section of the
Guntakal division of the South-Central Railway (SCR) on Thursday.
However, there were no casualties or injuries to passengers, SCR
sources said. The entire section has been paralyzed for the next
few days. (IE Jan 3, Hyderabad)
============================================

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

Subject: "Switching" KRC to fast track

Date: 03 Jan 1997 12:04:00 -0500


Debts inject urgency into KRC

DH News Service
PANAJI, Jan 3

With an interest burden of Rs.60 lakh a day weighing heavily on the
Konkan Railway Corporation, Railway Minister Ram Vilas Paswan`s visit
here to inspect the geologically challenging tunnels in the Goa
sector, was motivated by a sense of urgency on the part of the
Government to see the project through before this monsoon.

It wasn`t that he didn`t trust the experts to keep him abreast of the
progress of work, but it is always better ''to see for oneself why 350
metres in Goa were holding up the 760 km project,`` said Mr Paswan.

Goaded by the cynicism in the questions over missed deadlines, at the
press conference in the city Mr Paswan urged KRC Chairman E Sreedharan
to produce a more viable deadline, and one which the KRC would adhere
to.

With money no longer a constraint, it was up to the KRC to now
overcome the technical difficulties and see the project through with
the aid of foreign experts, said the minister.

Apart from Mr K Madhavan, retired member of the Central Water
Commission, Mr N Appukuttan from Asian Tech and the Swiss firm Locher
and Cie AG, two German engineers, experts on tunneling work and
imported equipment have been put on the job at the tunnel in Pernem,
North Goa. About 354 metres of this 1.54 km long tunnel (1.54 km)
remained to be penetrated, and the biggest challenge here was to
remove water from the soil, Mr Sreedharan said.

The three incomplete tunnels in this State, including the 110 metres
of heading at Old Goa and the few metres left to be bored at Padi are
the last of the tunnelling left on the entire route with the
Karnataka-end recently completed.

A year-and-a-half of progress was lost to resources crunch, Mr
Sreedharan confessed, and cost overruns have been tremendous.

The latest assessment of the project`s cost puts it at Rs.2,230 crore
plus an additional Rs.650 crore in financing costs. The debt equity
ratio stood at 1:4 and the 100 kms operational on the Southern end was
running at a loss, the KRC chairman disclosed, but the northern sector
was performing well.

Given the KRC experience, would the Central Government look favourably
upon setting up more corporations in the railways sector, Mr Paswan
was asked specifically. He brushed aside the question. There were
pressures, he said, to make the railways commercial so they could
produce their own resources and become self-supporting. But in a
country like this, the railways were a vehicle of social
development. Who will operate a train to Kashmir or the Bodo-infested
areas of the North-East if this sector were privatised, Mr Paswan
asked.

An earlier 80 per cent budgetary allocation for the Railways had been
slashed down to a meagre 16 per cent by the time he inherited the
portfolio, the minister pointed out, and attempts were on now to
convince the planning commission to revitalise the sector with a hike
in budgetary support to 45 per cent. ''If we do not replace 30 per
cent of the outdated coaches, we will have to close down many
routes.``

From: db2adm <db2adm@VNET.email

Subject: Railway News

Date: 04 Jan 1997 05:00:00 -0500


The Indian Express
Saturday, January 4 1997

Paswan disappoints harassed commuters

MUMBAI, January 3: Union Railway Minister Ram Vilas Paswan's meet
with the press in Mumbai on Friday turned out to be lacklustre
with no new announcements or promises. Apart from acknowledging
the fact that Mumbai's suburban rail network needs to be attended
to immediately, the minister did not have anything new in store
for Mumbaikars.

However, the minister, when asked about the progress of the much-
hyped Konkan Railway project, related three targets that have been
set for its completion: the optimistic target set for operations
to begin from April, the pessimistic from May and the realistic
from June 1997. Elaborating, Paswan clarified that the progress of
work on the two tunnels in Goa is moving at a pace of only half-a-
metre every day, while it was nearly two metres some months ago.

He also stated that a team of German experts has visited the site
and has started helping the KRCL engineers to tackle the problem
of tunnelling. ``Tunnels, agitations and resource crunch has led
to the delay of the project,'' he said.

While the funds crunch has been solved with the KRCL going public
by floating a public issue, the agitations and the technical
problems added to the KRCL's woes, he added.

Paswan remarked on the role of the print media in the coverage of
the train blast which claimed 300 lives a few days ago in Assam.
He said, ``The media did not ascertain the facts before informing
the public.'' The actual number of casualties, according to the
minister, was not 300 people but 33 dead and 49 injured, five of
whom were serious and were admitted at a hospital in Siliguri.

``Railways is not responsible for the blast,'' he stated, adding
that the Railway protection force is responsible for protecting
railway property while the states are to tackle the law problem.
Also, the railways are bearing the cost of medical expenses
incurred by the injured passengers, he claimed.

Referring to the code of conduct imposed by the election
commission, Paswan said he would confirm whether he would be able
to inaugurate the inaugural train on the entire Roha-Mangalore
route himself.
============================================

Nizamuddin Express will be back on tracks

PANAJI, January 3: The Vasco Da Gama (Goa) Nizamuddin Express,
linking Goa with the national capital, will be resumed before
March, according to senior officials of the South Central Railway.
The Nizamuddin Express earlier operated from Miraj and was
extended to Belgaum, following conversion of the route from meter-
guage to broad-guage.

The conversion work on the Castle Rock-Mormugao route has picked
up speed and the goods traffic is expected to be resumed by
February, according to Sheshgiri Rao, additional general manager,
South Central Railway, at secunderabad. The conversion on the Goa
sector covering a distance of 84 kms would cost around Rs 159
crore.

Similarly, the Hubli-Karwar rail link would be taken up shortly,
South-Central Railway said.
===============================

From: db2adm <db2adm@VNET.email

Subject: Railway News

Date: 07 Jan 1997 08:59:00 -0500


The Metro Railways, spurred into high gear by the impending visit
of the British Prime Minister, Mr John Major, will inaugurate the
subway at Esplanade, its last construction project in Calcutta,
before time. The chairman of Calcutta Municipal Corporation (CMC),
Mr Asim Barman, on Monday said Metro authorities would throw the
subway open to the public on Wednesday, a day before Mr Major's
arrival (Daily Telegraph Jan 7, Calcutta)

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

Subject: MRTS Extension

Date: 09 Jan 1997 04:51:00 -0500


MRTS extension work will be over by March

The Hindu
CHENNAI, Jan. 8.

The work on extension of the Mass Rapid Transit
System (MRTS) to Luz from Chepauk will be completed by March this
year.

This assurance was given to the members of the
Parliamentary Standing Committee by the Southern Railway
administration at a review meeting of the project here on Wednesday.

The study group of the committee, which inspected
the project earlier in the day wanted the administration to complete
it by February. The administration while expressing difficulty to meet
the deadline prescribed by the group, however, gave an assurance that
the work would be completed by March.

Referring to the second phase of the project
between Luz and Velacheri, Mr. Ram Naik, convenor of the group, told
presspersons here that there was a hitch between the State Government
and the Railway Board over sharing the cost of the project. While the
State Government was insisting on including the land value of about Rs
167 crores, the Board was for sharing the cost excluding the land. The
team, Mr. Naik said, in its report to the Union Government would
recommend that the original agreement between the two parties should
be adhered to and there should not be any delay in the project
schedule due to this. The State Government agreed to share the two
third cost of the project.

The team visited some of the suburban stations
both in the metre gauge and broad gauge sections where commuters
complained that EMU services were far from satisfactory with ``least
priority'' being given to the EMU trains by the Southern Railway
administration.

`Punctuality was the causalty for most of the EMU
trains' as mainline trains were given priority over the EMUs even
during the peak hour despite a specific order by the Board on the
contrary. The commuters' repeated representation to the administration
failed to yield the desired result. This, the commuters said, was
mainly due to the absence of a dedicated track for the suburban
services. The team, Mr. Naik said, in its report would stress the need
for separate lines for the EMUs, especially on the BG section.

The commuters also protested against the poor
maintenance of the EMU coaches and the absence of rolling stock
replacement. There was practically no replacement of MG EMU coach as
its manufacture had been stopped. Again there was heavy difference in
fare between the road and train.

The commuters found the frequency of bus services
to be higher, besides the road service being cheaper. These factors
were responsible for the drop in season ticket-holders in the last
three years from 68.5 per cent to 62 per cent. The suburban rail fare
structure should be made competitive with bus fare to make it more
popular.

The need for provision of circular railway
inter-linking the MRTS section with the BG and the MG sections and the
early BG conversion of Beach-Tambaram MG section were also stressed by
the passengers.

The team members held discussions with the General
Manager, Mr. V. K. Agnihotri and other senior officials of the
Southern Railway on the problems of the suburban system. The
administration told the team that ``punctuality was nearly 97 to 98
per cent in the suburban section'' and the EMU services were not
detained for the mainline traffic. They also assured the team that
steps would be taken to improve the EMU services.

Mr. Naik said the team would submit its report
during the budget session of Parliament. Though the team's
recommendations were not mandatory, the Railway Ministry would give
priority to its suggestions and try to include them in the budget
proposals. The three member team included Mrs. Chandrakala Pandey and
Mr. Narayan G. Athawale.

From: db2adm <db2adm@VNET.email

Subject: Railway News

Date: 09 Jan 1997 09:01:00 -0500


Commuters suffer in day of rail chaos


MUMBAI, January 8: A derailment, a power failure and
two cases of rail fracture made travel a nightmare for
passengers on the Central Railway on Wednesday.

It began at 9.50 a.m. when three bogies of the Thane-
bound 29Dn local derailed at a track-change point while
entering platform No 4 of the station. The bogies got
stuck on both the slow and the through lines and
obstructed both local and the mail/express trains.
Lakhs of commuters, especially office-goers, were seen
stranded on railway platforms at almost all stations
during the day.

Locals ran nearly two hours behind schedule till late
evening even after the CR authorities set things right
by late afternoon. Commuters, however, did not vent
their anger on the railway as they did on many occasion
in the past. The Railway Police said it had received no
reports of violence.

Most commuters blamed the CR for not shifting the
derailed bogies from the tracks and clearing the way
for other trains. Ashutosh Datar, who was stranded at
Mulund station for nearly two hours till noon, said,
Many of us asked the station master to at least make
proper announcements so that passengers could decide
whether to wait for the train or make other
arrangements. He said all they received were vague
answers to queries about when the services would
resume.

Similar complaints were echoed by several passengers
stranded at railway stations such as Kanjurmarg,
Vikhroli and Ghatkopar.

Public relations officials at the CST could also not
explain the reason for the derailment. Engineering
officials attributed it to poor maintenance of tracks.
They stated that the tracks are not checked
periodically due to which the derailment occurred.

At exactly the same time it happened, an MSEB power-
grid failure brought services to a standstill between
Kalyan and Igatpuri. It continued till 10.30 a.m. when
power was restored and the electric rakes could resume
their run.

Commuters' troubles were not over yet. A track fracture
was noticed at Kalwa station at 10.35 a.m. The
engineering officials said it had occurred due to a
sudden change in climatic conditions. It was set right
by late afternoon but by then services had gone
completely haywire.

To round the day up, at 8.45 p.m., a fracture was found
on the slow track on the up line from Kalyan to
Thakurli. While the CR authorities could not operate
trains between specific stations, they had to cancel 59
local trains on the main line and 26 on the harbour
line. However, as work progressed, 12 special trains
were rushed to the aid of stranded commuters.

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

Subject: PM denies making B'lore HQ for SWR

Date: 09 Jan 1997 10:53:00 -0500


DH News Service
Friday, January 9, 1997

The Prime Minister, Mr. H.D. Deve Gowda denied that he had any hand in
making Bangalore the headquarters of the newly born South-Western
Railway zone instead of Hubli despite popular demand.

He said Bangalore was recommended by the two expert committees set up
by the government and the Centre had merely followed the
recommendations of these committees. Unlike Bangalore, Hubli does not
have direct link from places like Mysore, Mangalore or from Gulbarga
or Raichur, he pointed out. It was because of this and several other
administrative reasons that the Cabinet cleared the recommendations of
the expert committees, he said. '' We did not change even a comma or
full stop from these reports,`` he added.

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

Subject: PM to inaugurate B'lore-Salem line

Date: 09 Jan 1997 10:54:00 -0500


CHENNAI, Jan 9 (PTI)

Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda will inaugurate the new broad gauge
railway line between Salem and Bangalore at a function in Salem on
January 11.

An official press release here today, announcing his tentative
programme, said Mr Gowda would reach the Salem airport by an IAF
aircraft from Bangalore at 10 am. After inaugurating the railway line,
he would leave for Dabolim in Goa at 12 noon.

Mr Gowda will also lay the foundation of the Rs 677-crore project to
convert the 198 km long Silchar-Lumding metre gauge line into a broad
guage track at a public rally in Silchar on January 22, official
sources said today.

Railway Minister Ram Vilas Paswan and the Chief Whip of the Congress
in the Lok Sabha Sontosh Mohan Dev, MP, will address the rally.

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