IRFCA Mailing List Archive

Messages 721 - 740

From: vijayb <

Subject: Jeevan Rekha, etc.

Date: 03 Oct 1991 18:35:00 -0500


Thanks for the news summary, Ajai. The Aunrihar-Chhapra MG-to-BG
conversion project would provide a shorter BG route between Varanasi
and Chhapra/Muzaffarpur when compared to the Varanasi-Mau-Bhatni-Chhapra
route and eliminate the need to reverse directions (at Bhatni).

I recently read an article on the Lifeline Express in India Today
(Sept. 30 issue). Here's an attempt in describing the train exterior.
The coaches have an white color with a blue strip at the bottom and
two green stripes around the windows. The lower one is
placed further away from the window line and is interrupted in the middle
by the phrase "LIFELINE EXPRESS" (or Jeevan Rekha written in Hindi).
The region between the window line and the green stripe is adorned with
paintings of flowers in various colors. And then, there is the
familiar "+" symbol placed near the roof. The windows are square-shape
Get the picture? Anyway, here are some sentences from the article:-

.....At the end of the month when Jeevan Rekha pulled out of Khelari on
August 26, Vijay stood proudly on the platform to bid goodbye to the
train that brought back movement to his young but infirm legs. "I can
walk", he beamed radiantly, waving his hands as the train left for
Chainpur in the West Bokaro Colliery, 100 km away in the neighboring
Hazaribagh district.......The train's credibility rating is also quite
high among the villagers. They believe it is better than government
hospitals, and that there is a greater hope for cure......The hospital-
run train was preferred to medically equipped mobile vans because the
railways - with 65,000 km of tracks and 7,000 sidings with infrastructural
facilites like water and power - is the best way to reach remote corners
of the country.......IMPACT-INDIA [ part of a New York based international
voluntary organization ] converted three coaches into the Lifeline
express. A coach of the mini-train was turned into an air-conditioned
operation theatre with three adjustable tables, a steriliastion room,
diagnostic centre and lie-in wards. The other two coaches were
converted into the staff quarters, administrative unit, pathology
laboratory and pantry..........The private sector TISCO, operating in
the neighbouring Hazaribagh district, offered its terrain and medical
staff to the Lifeline Express at Chainpur railway station......
As the train has no medical staff of its own, doctors from regional
hospitals are taken off to operate the Lifeline Express. This affects
the normal functioning of the local hospitals. Senior doctors of CCL's
[ Central Coalfields Ltd. ] Ranchi-based hospital had to shuttle
between Ranchi and Khelari, a distance of 60 km, for six weeks to keep
the hospital train functioning. The villagers were also disappointed
because they expected the train to bring the big doctors - the super
specialists from the big city......At Khelari, the doctors performed
47 cataract operations using the latest technique of intraocular
transplantations, and 77 polio victims were fitted with nylotic calliper
after surgery.....At Chainpur, the local politicians were so eager to
be associated with the hospital that they crowded around the operation
theatre, with the result that the doctors did not perform surgery on
the first day and insisted that the theater be thoroughly fumigated.

Finally, here's a reproduction of an article from

* Some segments of Railways to be privatized
The state owned railways is planning to privatize some vital
segments of its operations, including wagon manufacturing, as a first
step. Indian railway minister Mr.Jaffer Sharrif told newsmen that in
response to Indian's new liberalized economic reforms, six proposals
ashmir issue at the organization
of Islamic countries.


From: vijayb <

Subject: '91 May-June issue

Date: 07 Oct 1991 18:33:00 -0500

Hi Folks,

Here are excerpts from the May-June combined issue of Indian Railways.

-DLW (Diesel Locomotive Works), Varanasi, produced 147 locos during the financial
year '90-91. This is the highest ever achieved by DLW since commencement of
production in Jan 1964. Since its inception, DLW has produced 2268 BG and
498 MG locos. The 2790th loco., produced in the financial year '91-92, has been
named as Baba Saheb

-The railways commissioned 567 route kms. of optical fibre communication system
during the financial year '90-91. This system formed part of the
electrification project in the Nagpur area and was first introduced in '89-90.
Under the scheme, rly. operations such as control, block and level crossings
are provided with telecommunication facilities thru' optical fibre.

-Rly. electrification
The rlys. electrified a total of 902 route kms. in '90-91. The total
electrified rkms. as on March 31, '91, is 10,154 km. [about 1/6 of the total km.]
The routes electrified during '90-91 were

-Badnera-Wardha (99 km.) [July '91 timetable still indicates all trains halting
for >= 15 mts. at Bhusaval. Looks like passenger trains are still being diesel
hauled in this section]
-Durg-Bhandara Rd. (201 km.)
-297 km. on Itarsi-Nagpur section [the '91 timetable indicates that all north-
south trains halt at Nagpur for >= 20 mts. and at Itarsi for >= 15 mts.
which means that passenger trains are yet to be electrically hauled here]
-Palsora-Makrawan Bolai (110 km.) section of Bhopal-Nagda
-Yamuna Bridge-Agra (5 km.) section of Bayana-Tundla
-61 km. on Jolarpettai-Erode and Salem-Mettur Dam sections
-37 km. on Magnesite-Mettur Dam section
-66 km. on Itarsi-Bhusaval section

With the electrification, a gap of only 64 km. between Bhandara Rd.-Nagpur on the
1890 km. long Howrah-Bombay route remains to be completed. The 2050 km. Delhi-
Madras is now completely electrified. Out of the ~1500 km. Delhi-Itarsi-
Bhusaval-Bombay route, a balance of 235 km. between Harda-Bhusaval remains to be
completed. The entire 112 km. on Bayana-Tundla has been electrified.
Only 25 kms. on the Jolarpettai-Bangalore section were electrified.

In addition, electrification works on 128 km. including Harda-Singaji (58 km.)
and Bhusaval-Chandni (70 km) sections have been completed substantially.
[this means that electrification is yet to reach Khandwa from either dirn.]

-In the newly manufactured AC sleepers, I class and II sleepers (BG and MG),
built-in metallic chains, fixed to the berths, have been provided as an
anti-theft measure. These can be used to lock the luggage. Passengers have to
provied their own locks. [who knows, these metallic chains, themselves, might be
stolen:-) ]

-Computerized reservation system was inaugurated at Cuttack stn. on March 27.
At present, computerized reservation is available on Howrah-Puri Exp. and Dhauli
Exp. and any train leaving Howrah/Sealdah towards Northern, North Eastern,
NE Frontier and Western Rlys.

-CLW (Chittarajan Locomotive Works) produced 110 elec. locos. during 90-91. The
110th loco. was named Dr. Ambedkar and is a WAP1. The first DC elec. loco
"Lokmanya" rolled out on Nov. 14, '61, and the first elec. loco. "Bidhan" rolled
out on Nov. 16, '63. Both were inaugurated by Jawaharlal Nehru.
The first steam loco. was inaugurated by Rajendra Prasad sometime in March '50.
The last steam loco. "Antim Sitara" was turned out on Feb. 5, '72. It was a
MG goods loco. During this period, CLW had produced 2351 steam locos. of 5
different types.

-ICF (Integral Coach Factory), Perambur, produced 1000 coaches in 90-91.
Production was inaugurated by Nehru on Oct. 2, '55. Built intially for the
manufacture of 350 all-steel, all-welded light-weight integral coach bodies
(shells) with anti-telescopic end - construction in collaboration with M/s. Swiss
Car and Elevator Manufacturing Corporation Ltd., Zurich, Switzerland, the
factory was soon expanded to undertake furnishing of all shells built.
As of March 31, '91, ICP has manufactured 23145 shells and 21152 furnished

-The 126 km. Gwalior-Shivpuri phase of the Guna-Etawah project has been made
functional from Feb. 8, at an estimated cost of Rs 69.63 crore. It is about to
be completed soon. The other three phases of the project are:- Guna-Shivpuri,
Gwalior-Bhind and Bhind-Etawah.
[I guess the present Gwalior-Bhind NG track will be replaced. I am not sure
about the Gwalior-Sheopur Kalan NG section. Aren't both of these the 2' type
as opposed to the standard 2' 6" gauge? ]

-New Kurla Terminus
The New Kurla terminus has been planned in the city of Bombay to provide much
needed relief to the existing passenger terminals at Bombay V.T. and Dadar.
Facilities for handling 22 coach trains are being made available at this
terminal [in anticipation of the electrification of the Bombay V.T.-Delhi and
Bombay-Howrah sections]. The 1st phase of this work would have been
completed long back but for an unfortunate court case regarding ownership
of a portion of a land [ talk about problems! ]. The new terminal will be
commissioned to do service within 3 months after the court's decision delivered
in favour of the railways [ way to go! ].

In the first phase, sanctioned at a cost of Rs. 24.95 crore, it is proposed to
start five pairs of trains with one island platform and in the 2nd phase,
expected to cost Rs. 25 crore, it is proposed to start 10 pairs of trains from
two platforms. [ a total of three platforms in all? ] The required
maintenance facilites have been planned in the same complex.

The modern stn. bldg. of New Kurla complex covers an area of 660 m x 30 m as
a multi-storeyed structure. The 1st two floors will cater for all the
facilites required in a modern passenger terminal, and will have lifts,
escalators, subways, a computerised reservation office, cloak rooms, retiring
rooms and various offices. There will be a big circulating area in front of the
stn. bldg. with spacious areas earmarked for taxis, two-wheelers, buses, etc.

It is proposed to construct subways connecting the circulating area with the
main platform and the island platform. The top 8 floors of the terminal bldg.
are proposed to be utilized as a commercial complex.

[ Will many of the long distance trains start halting at Kurla? ]

-The 381 km long Noonmati road over-bridge at Guwahati was commissioned on March 3



From: Ajai Banarji <


Date: 14 Oct 1991 11:52:00 -0500


A new superfast train between New Delhi and Bathinda was recently inagurated.
It will run via Ambala, Rajpura and Patiala and will cover 400-odd km with
8 stops.
The earlier report about privatization of wagon manufacture was strange,
since there are already a few private companies who manufacture wagons. These
include Texmaco and Hindustan Development. Apart from these companies, there
is Jessops (now in public sector) while a few railway workshops may be
manufacturing wagons. While on this topic, did you know that locomotives were
being manufactured even before independence at some workshops like Ajmer and
Jamalpur? It seems that the Ajmer workshop could have supplied locomotives
to other railways as well, but the then government had a rule that it could
only supply to its owner (BBCI) but not to other railways. A crude way of
protecting British industry.
The only new development was Texmaco offering to manufacture coaches. Note
that apart from the integral coach factories at Perambur and Kapurthala,
BEML (Bangalore or Kolar) and perhaps HAL also manufacture coaches. Prior to
the start of Perambur in the 1950s, wooden coaches were built at some workshops
like Parel.
The railway minister made a speech mentioning about soon starting a Rajdhani
express to Madras, Bangalore and Trivandrum. I do not know whether this can be
taken seriously.

From: Manish Malhotra <


Date: 17 Oct 1991 17:07:00 -0500

Train Travel in Europe (Some obseravtions)

I have been in Vienna for over two months now. Recently, I decided to travel
across Europe by train and bought an inter-rail second class pass (its like
Eurail pass, slightly different though). I don't know how many of you have
had the chance t travel by trains in Europe, so here are some obseravtions.
Its different than Indian railways.

The fast long-distance trains in Europe are classified as inter-city (IC) or
Euro-city (EC). The night trains are classified as neither and stop at all
the major towns on the way. This also helps in making the departure
and arrival times in the source and destination cities reasonable. Besides there
are local trains (within each country) which stop at many stations on the way.
In addition to these, Germany has superfast ICE trains (Inter city express)
and France, of course, has TGVs. These run on the same tracks as the
other trains do. Thus, the speed has more to do with the specially built
coaches and engines. There is, however, not a significant difference in
running time between local trains and EC and IC and nite trains. All these
trains attain a peak speed of 140-150 Km/ph. The stopping time at each
station is about 3-4 minutes unless a direction change is to be carried out.
The trains accelerate very fast, and almost every route is electrified.
Thus, the difference in running times comes simply from the number of
stations the trains stop at. Many EC and IC trains average upto 80-90 Km/ph
between the source and destination cities. Some even average 100 Km/ph
which is fast !

The EC and IC trains have a dining car where drinks and food/snacks can be
ordered. From the pantry car, one guy brings a trolley with chocolates/drinks/
snacks/cigarettes and takes it to all the coaches. The passengers may stop him
and buy whatever they want. The night trains do not have a dining car unless
the journey is really long and extends late in the day as well.

In all my train travels across Europe, I have found that trains leave sharply
at departure time. The doors close before
the train moves, thus no chance of running and hopping into a moving train !
Very rarely does an engine blow its horn. Not even when it gets stuck
at an outer signal ! The only indication that a train is about to leave
is the guard's whistle. The engine does not blow the horn even then.
In most of travels, the delay in arrival at the final destination has been at
most 5-10 minutes. The connections to trains are made by a margin of as little
as 5 minutes (you have to walk fast from one platform to the other) and
the connecting train waits for the arrival of the train it is connecting to
(which is usually not needed).

EC and IC trains run during day time, thus they have only first class
and second class coaches. The over-night trains have different coaches
with couchettes, sleeping cars, second class, and first class.
Most of these trains run daily.
The second class is the cheapest category with six sitting seats
(three on each side) in each compartment. The seats are cushioned and the
compartment is well heated and insulated unless someone chooses to open
the window (which is quite common even during cold nights since people here
start feeling cold at lower temperatures than I do !). First class coaches
are more comfortable with only four seats (two on each side). Couchettes are
sleeping cars with six berths. The middle and the lower ones can be adjusted
so that the lower seat can be used for sitting purposes. Sleeping cars is also
another category of which I don't know much about (my guess is those
are four or two sleeping berths in one compartment). For couchettes, an extra
charge of 24 Marks in Germany (130 Schillings in Austria, yup, these are not
always equivalent. I bet it would be even cheaper in Hungary.) is to be paid.
The reservation is not necessary but useful during the summer and
around Christmas. During off-season, a good bet is to occupy a second class
compartment. I had an inter-rail pass (like a Eurail pass) which is valid
for second class compartments only. For reservations, 30 Austrian schillings
are charged irrespective of what coach it is for.

The reservation slips are placed outside each compartment
against the seat number. I have been told (and I later found out) that
the Austrian and German coaches are the most comfortable among European
coaches. The seats are just like the first class aircraft seats (in size and
comfort) ! The hand rests between the seats can be lifted and it makes a
reasonably comfortable berth. However, one big advantage of couchettes is
that the attendant keeps the tickets and shows it to the conductor at
night. Ticket checking is carried out even in the middle of the night after
a major junction. If you are traveling in second class, then you would
be woken up some three times during the night. In couchettes, you can
sleep comfortably. Blankets and pillows and sheets are provided.
If you are crossing a border and the border guards are sincere, then once more !

Rarely have I found a stall (with snacks/drinks/cigarettes) on the platforms. There are stalls/shops, but only in the main area of the railway station where
tickets are sold. I guess thats mainly because the trains barely stop
for a couple minutes before accelerating again. Thus no platform specialities !!
I shall write more about specific journeys I have made and some of
the scenic routes I have traveled. Also more on Austrian trains and subways.



So far, I have traveled on the following routes -

1) Donau-Kurier express (Danube Courier)
A night train that runs daily between Vienna - Dortmund.
The Austrains coaches are colored dark blue mostly.
The route it takes is

Vienna - Linz - Passau (border town between Austria and Germany) - Regensburg -
Nurenburg - Gemunden - Frankfurt - Mainz - Koblenz - Bonn - Cologne -
Dusseldorf - Essen - Dortmund)

I got down at Koblenz where I took a train from Koblenz - Trier (border town
between Germany and Luxembourg).

At Trier, I took another train to Luxembourg city.

2) Bruselles - Namur (local train in Belgium)

3) Namur - Bruselles - Bruges (local trains in Belgium).

4) Bruges - Antwerp (local train in Belgium. The station at Antwerp is very
much like Bombay VT. Its a terminus and has an old building with all the
platforms totally covered by a huge semi-circular shed.)

5) Antwerp - Amsterdam (Belgian train. Most of Belgian trains are colored
Maroon red or dark green. So are the engines.)

6) Amsterdam - Rotterdam - Hague and back. (local Dutch trains which are
colored dark yellow or dark blue)

7) Amsterdam - Munich ( night train called Bayern-nacht express, translated
as Bavarian night expresss )

8) Munich - Sttutgart (by sleek ICE train which reaches upto 200 Km/ph max
speed. A surcharge of 14 Marks (depends upon the distance travelled) was
charged to me. The coaches and the engine of ICE trains are specially built.
These are painted white with a broad strip of reddish pink color and
two thinner strips of violet and silver on each side of the broad strip.
The engine has a sleek streamlined face, like the Bullet trains. Reservation
is not compulsory. There is music on different channels which can be listened
to using headphones (just like airplanes). There is also a special on-board
magazine just like in-flight mags.)

9) Sttutgart - Nurenburg (by an IC train. In Germany, a surcharge is charged
even for IC trains).

10) Nurenburg - Munich (IC, Most of the German trains are colored dark blue
or dull white. The station at Munich is also a terminus with some 26 platforms
and a modern shed covering all the platforms.)

11) Munich - Berlin (night train via Leipzig, mostly thru former East Germany)

12) Berlin - Vienna (Night train via Leipzig, mostly thru former East Germany.
Most of the trains from Berlin to Vienna go via Prague, but I wanted to avoid
Czechoslovakia because of Visa so took a longer route.)

From: apte <

Subject: Request for inofrmation on TGV

Date: 18 Oct 1991 10:56:00 -0500

Hi Folks,

If anyone knows a reference where the business details of either
the French TGV system or the Japanese Shinkansen
are cited (things like cities served, fares, revenues
earned, time comparisons to competing air services etc...); could you
please e-mail me the name of the reference? If I do get sufficient
data, I will try to post a concise summary of the same on the net at
some future date.

Thank you

From: Ajai Banarji <


Date: 23 Oct 1991 14:10:00 -0500

Mixed gauge?

Those of you who read rec.railroad might have seen some examples of mixed
gauge in the US and elsewhere. Can you think of any examples in the Indian
railways of today?
The only one which I am definite about is BG/MG between Mangalore and
Panambur, which does not have passenger service. This is to enable MG traffic
coming from Hassan side to use the Panambur port. There was a picture of
this dual gauge track in a recent Indian Railways magazine issue (article on
the Konkan line).
There used to be a mixed MG/NG line between Bangalore and Yelahanka, but
it has been pulled up.(Right, Aravind?)
At one time there was a mixed BG/MG line between Coimbatore and Podanur, but
I am not sure if it still exists. There also used to be a BG/MG line between
Ernakulam Jn and Cochin Harbour, but this was not needed once the Ernakulam-
Trivandrum line was converted to BG in the mid-70s.
Can anyone think of more examples?
While on the same topic, there is or was a diamond crossing between NG and
the BG main line at Nadiad station-though diamond crossings between MG and
BG must be quite common. There was once a serious accident near Barauni where
a BG goods train hit an MG passenger at a diamond crossing.
Regarding the Bradshaw-I hope to hear from the publishers in a week or so.
Meanwhile, the official railway map (published by the Survey of India) is
available with Forsyth Travel Services for around $6 (you can check with
1-800-FORSYTH). This is not to be confused with the other maps published by
Thomas Cook.
Hope this wakes the net up!

From: aravind <

Subject: yes, let's wake up ....

Date: 23 Oct 1991 21:41:00 -0500

MIXED GAUGE: the NG third rail between Yeshwanthpur and Yelahanka
(north of Bangalore) was pulled out years ago.

I know of one more instance of mixed BG/MG, in the Tiruchi area.
There is a mixed line running to the BHEL plant at Thiruverumbur.
>From the station in Golden Rock, this line runs parallel to the
Thanjavur MG line for a few km before branching off to the plant.

ACCIDENT in SC RLY: According to the Oct. 25 issue of India Abroad,
nine people were killed and 60 injured when the Narasapur-Hyd'bad
exp. collided with a stationary goods train at Pondugula station.

The news report goes on to say that the 7053 Madras-Hyd'bad Exp. and
the 7423 Tirupati-Sec'bad exp. were diverted via Vijayawada-Kazipet.

(Tragedy apart, a little bit of detective work is needed here.
If the "normal" route from Madras to Hyderabad - via Kazipet -
is now a "diversion", then the above trains that were diverted
must be using the newly commissioned Bibinagar-Guntur link on
a regular basis. "Podugula" must therefore be a station on this
line. Comments anyone? What does the latest timetable indicate?)

A RLY ROLE FOR NRIs: (India Abroad, Oct. 25)

India's railway network is preparing to go in for massive
privatization that will open up investment opportunities for
NRIs. Officals say that NRIs and others can enter the field of
manufacture of wagons and coaches.

IR needs about 40K wagons this year but have only 28K.

Rly. minister CKJSharief said that the railways will go for massive
privatization in areas such as real estate and handling of coaches
and wagons. He said he had talked to senior officials about leasing
raliway-owned lands in urban areas to earn revenue. Vast areas
belonging to the railways are either encroached upon or idle.

Sharief said that massive investment is needed to build wagons and
coaches and there is a heavy backlog in replacing aging coaches.
Hence, he said that the private sector will be invited to build

He said that the railways will provide locomotives and other
infrastructure to private operators on a commercial basis.

He said that privatization of catering is also being considered.

(Does anyone know of any "vast areas" owned by the railways in
urban areas that sit idle?)



From: apte <

Subject: "Vast areas of Railways?"

Date: 23 Oct 1991 20:11:00 -0500

Subject: "Vast areas of Railways?"
Date: Wed, 23 Oct 91 22:11:20 PDT

I must say that the concept of ownership of land by the railways itself
comes as a surprise to me. I know that in the U.S. for instance any
private railroad has to own/lease the land it has tracks on. Somehow I
haed assumed that Indian Railways being Govt owned - had a "baap ka
raaj" (i.e. could run tracks thru whereve they liked). If that is not
the case, this brings up some interesting questions. Is the land on
which railway tracks pass in cities owned by IR and not the city? If
it is not owned does IR pay any money to individual cities for leasing
it? I don't seem to remember ever reading of city govt-IR squabbles
although city-state, state-federal, city-federal and other inter-govt
squabbles are commonplace. Could someone please post the explanation?


P.S. On squabbles, I heard that the Konkan Rail was facing some
trouble over the precise routing in Goa - again I believe from the
people - not the govt.

From: Dheeraj Sanghi <>

Subject: Re:Re: "Vast areas of Railways?"

Date: 25 Oct 1991 00:51:00 -0500

Ownership of land:

When Railway companies first started construction in middle of 19th
century, they had two choices. Firstly, they could buy/lease land from
whoever owned them, or get it free from the British in exchange of
some restrictions. The primary restriction was that they had to lay
the BG tracks (which was later relaxed and one could lay MG or BG
tracks), and government had the first choice in using it. (e.g. in case
of war, they could ask the Railway companies to transport the men and
hardware on apriority basis.) There were some restrictions on the profit
levels also. So, the land on which tracks are laid is owned by Railways.

But I guess we are not really talking about that land. At various times,
IR may have bought more land, or given by state/district/xxx to build
say houses, station, yards and what not. But IR never built them and they
now have lots of empty land which could be developed commercially. Now
if this is the land we are talking about, and if this land was really a
grant, wouldn't the old owners, be it state or city, complain.

In Konkan Railways project, it has been decided that it will be states'
responsibility to provide land for the tracks and stations and all the
facilities. The 1100 crore Rs. cost is after assuming that land will be
given free to IR.

The problem with routing the Konkan Railways in Goa was that the state
government did not want Railway line to pass through the Panjim city.
Now the plans have been redrawn. Under the new plan, the railway line
will pass 10 KM from the city.


From: vijayb <

Subject: This and that!

Date: 25 Oct 1991 11:05:00 -0500

Hi Folks,
Feels good to see the net "waking up"! As far as mixed gauge is
concerned, I won't be surprised if the Varanasi-Aunrihar section turns out to
be a mixed BG/MG gauge (however, this was not mentioned in the IR magazine).
>From the layout of Varanasi City (next to Varanasi on this section) and the
fact that the earlier MG track would curve quite a bit to cross the Varanasi-
Mughal Sarai BG track from below, I find it difficult to visualize BG and
MG existing independently. There are plans to convert Aunrihar-Chhapra
and Allahabad City-Varanasi to MG which means that MG traffic is a temporary
affair in this route.

I undertook my first "long-distance" rail journey in the US, yesterday.
I traveled on a Metro North Commuter Railroad push-pull train from
Poughkeepsie to Grand Central, NY (and back). After departing from
Poughkeepsie, the train stopped at New Hamburg, Beacon, Cold Spring, Garrison,
and Croton-Harmon (this has a reasonably big goods yard). It ignored the
stns. further down (Tarrytown, Hastings, Garyston, Ludlow, Riverdale....)
which are meant to cater more to local traffic - these have rakes with third-
rail current pickup equipment. I confess, though, that the journey was
not as exciting as I had anticipated.

I got a chance to visit the New York public library at 42nd St. and 5th
Av. To my utter delight, I found out that they had past issues of Indian
Railways right from April '56 to March '77. I got hold of two of 'em -
April '70 - March '71 and April '73 - March '74. I am getting nearly 230
pages xeroxed from these two volumes and expect to receive the copies by mail,
within a week from today. Will post excerpts soon.

I would be traveling to Baltimore this weekend. I plan to catch the
Niew Amsterdam at Poughkeepsie which connects to the Bankers at Penn stn.
Unfortunately, the 109 Metroliner does not operate on week-ends.


From: vijayb <

Subject: Weekend trip!

Date: 28 Oct 1991 18:07:00 -0500

Hi Folks,
Thought I'll describe my first train trip on the electrified NY-
Washington N.E. Corridor line. I caught the Nieuw Amsterdam from Poughkeepsie stn. around
8.10 a.m. on Saturday. It arrived ~15 mts. later than what I had expected
mainly b'cauz my time-table was valid only after Sun., Oct. 27 (when the clock
would have been set an hour back). I, thus, had < 5 mts. to catch the
connecting train at Penn. stn., and was pretty sure that I wouldn't make it.
The train took about 1 hr. 20 mts. to reach Penn stn. stopping at
Croton-Harmon enroute. Croton-Harmon has a Elec.+Diesel shed and is also the
terminus for the Metro North local commuter trains (with third rail pickup).
The train hugged the Hudson till Tarrytown and then headed inward.

At Penn stn., I had just over two minutes to catch the Bankers for
Baltimore. Fortunately, it was stationed on the next "track", so all I
had to do was to run across the platform and jump into a coach car.
Hauled by an AEM-7 elec. loco., the train took off promptly and crossed
the Lincoln tunnel (?) to arrive at Newark ~15 mts. later. Next on the
list was Metropark, followed by Princeton (why is this a jn.?) and
Trenton. I could sense that the train was running above 100 mph.
in the long stretches between stns. The lone halt in Pennslyvania was
Philadelphia Jn. (a line takes off towards Harrisburg). Somewhere
between Philadelphia and Wilmington, Delaware, the train made its first
unscheduled halt and had, thus, got delayed by ~15 mts. when it arrived
at Baltimore Penn stn. around 12.45 pm.

On the return trip, I boarded the Senator at Baltimore which connecte
to the all-reserved Lake Shore Ltd. at Penn stn. The latter was a
long-distance train and was bound for Albany/Buffalo, with a portion
going further till Chicago. This had both a dining and a sleeping car
Passengers bound for Croton-Harmon, Poughkeepsie, Rhinecliff
or Albany were told to seat themselves in the first of the 7-odd coach

BTW, I spotted a few MARC commuter trains at Baltimore stn. Each
was supported by two locos., one at the end and the other in the middle.
Why not have both the locos. at the ends? I also noticed that the
coaches had helical coiled-spring bogies similar to our Indian coaches.

One last question: If I am not mistaken, the AEM-7 is geared for a
max. speed of 125 mph. Is this, then, the max. speed of the Metroliners
How about the max. speed of other trains on the NY-Washintgon line?


From: usl!jis <usl!

Subject: Weekend trip!

Date: 29 Oct 1991 13:50:00 -0500

Just a few details and explanations on Ajay's excellent article on his
weekend trip: writes:
> Croton-Harmon has a Elec.+Diesel shed and is also the
> terminus for the Metro North local commuter trains (with third rail pickup).

Those are known as the Harmon Shops, originally built by the New York
Central System, passed on through Penn-Central and Conrail to Metro North.

> The train hugged the Hudson till Tarrytown and then headed inward.

Headed inward? That happens around a place called Innwood, just under
George Washington Bridge. The line to Grand Central veers off inland
along the Harlem River at Spuyten Duyvil, where the Amtrak line
crosses the river on a swing bridge and continues along the Hudson -
more or less, until it comes to Riverside Park, where it goes uder the park.

> Hauled by an AEM-7 elec. loco., the train took off promptly and crossed
> the Lincoln tunnel (?) to arrive at Newark ~15 mts. later.

The road tunnel that parallels the rail tunnel is called Lincoln
Tunnel. The rail tunnel is variously called the North Tubes or the
Bergen Tunnel. It is actually two tunnels, one for each track. It
contains the steepest grade on what used to be Pennsylvania Railroad,
even steeper than the grade around Horseshoe Curve in Pennsylvania
near Altoona.

> Next on the
> list was Metropark, followed by Princeton (why is this a jn.?) and
> Trenton. I could sense that the train was running above 100 mph.
> in the long stretches between stns.

Princeton is Jct. (i.e. jn.) because the NJTransit Princeton branch
takes off at Princeton Jct.

Typically, it should have been doing about 120mph on straight
stretches, specially between Wilmington and Baltimore. It would do so
between Newark and Trenton near Princeton Jct. if it was running
through on the center tracks, but your train had stops on the way so
it was probably running on the outer tracks (more on this later).

Incidentally, on the North East Corridor, the mileposts are on the
right hand side of the track when you are headed towards Washinton DC
from New York. They come in handy for timing the speed of the train. I
have times trains at upto 130mph on the corridor (specially when it
was running very late and trying to make up time).

> The lone halt in Pennslyvania was
> Philadelphia Jn. (a line takes off towards Harrisburg).

Philadelphia is actually a major junction. The station itself is
called 30th Street Station, and is in two levels. There are tracks
going off towards (i) Harrisburg, (ii) Suburban Station in Center
City. (iii) Airport, and a couple of other suburban lines that I do
not quite recall. Currently the complex is controlled from three towers,
Zoo, Arsenal, and Phil. In the near future all these towers will be
decommisioned and control will be moved to CETC (Centralized
Electrical and Traffic Control), located on the 10th floor above 30th
Street Station. This CETC currently controls all of North East
Corridor between Washington DC and just south of Phil tower.
Eventually it will control all of North East Corridor from Washington
DC to just south of Trenton. Trenton(Fair) to New York(Penn A) -
Sunnyside(Harold) - New Rochelle(CP Shell) will be controlled out of
CETC in New York.

> BTW, I spotted a few MARC commuter trains at Baltimore stn. Each
> was supported by two locos., one at the end and the other in the middle.
> Why not have both the locos. at the ends? I also noticed that the
> coaches had helical coiled-spring bogies similar to our Indian coaches.

Actually what you saw are two push-pull trains parked end to end on
the same track. They do this with Metroliners in New York too. They
just park two trains end to end on the same platform, end they leave
one after the other. Those MARC coaches are manufactured by Sumitomo.

> One last question: If I am not mistaken, the AEM-7 is geared for a
> max. speed of 125 mph. Is this, then, the max. speed of the Metroliners
> How about the max. speed of other trains on the NY-Washintgon line?

Actually, those AEM-7s are capable of speeds considerably higher than
125mphs but they have been authorized to run at upto 125mph. Sometimes
even now they do run them a little faster than that. According to the
latest Amtrak employee timetable, AEM-7s and Amfleet cars are
authorized to run at upto 125mph subject to track conditions. Heritage
fleet cars are restricted to 110mph. E60 electrics are restricted to
90mph. MARC and NJTransit push-pulls and EMUs are restricted to 90mph.
So a train that consists of Amfleet coaches pulled by AEM-7s (barring
exceptions) is allowed to run at 125mph. Heritage fleet and Amfleet
mixed consists pulled by AEM-7(s) are restricted to 110mph and
anything pulled by E60(s) are restricted to 90mph.

Typically on a straight four track stretch the middle two tracks which
are laid on concrete sleepers are 125mph tracks. The outer two tracks
on wooden sleepers are 110mph tracks.

Hope that clarifies and answers the questions.


From: vijayb <

Subject: Re: week-end trip!

Date: 30 Oct 1991 11:43:00 -0500

Thanks a lot, Jishnu, for your explanations. Here are my comments:

> > The train hugged the Hudson till Tarrytown and then headed inward.

>Headed inward? That happens around a place called Innwood, just under
>George Washington Bridge. The line to Grand Central veers off inland
>along the Harlem River at Spuyten Duyvil, where the Amtrak line
>crosses the river on a swing bridge and continues along the Hudson -
>more or less, until it comes to Riverside Park, where it goes uder the park.

I did notice my train splitting away from the Grand Central line and
crossing a small river. If I remember correctly, the Hudson was distincly
visible only for a little while after Tarrytown.

> > Trenton. I could sense that the train was running above 100 mph.
> > in the long stretches between stns.

>Typically, it should have been doing about 120mph on straight
>stretches, specially between Wilmington and Baltimore. It would do so
>between Newark and Trenton near Princeton Jct. if it was running
>through on the center tracks, but your train had stops on the way so
>it was probably running on the outer tracks (more on this later).

Both the Bankers and the Senator were running mainly on the center tracks (in
the four track sections). And they were traveling faster between Trenton and

>Incidentally, on the North East Corridor, the mileposts are on the
>right hand side of the track when you are headed towards Washinton DC
>from New York. They come in handy for timing the speed of the train. I

I couldn't sight the mileposts as was facing east on both the journeys. So
I used the electric poles in straight stretches to obtain a crude estimate.
I assumed the distance between two poles to be about 100 metres. The train
consumed about 19 seconds to cross ten pole-lengths, which leads to a
figure of 118 mph. approx.


From: Shriram Revankar <

Subject: train accident

Date: 31 Oct 1991 12:39:00 -0500

NEW DELHI, India (UPI) -- An express train slammed into boulders and
jumped the tracks in southern Karnataka state, killing 35 passengers,
injuring about 100 and possibly trapping others, the Press Trust of
India news agency said Thursday.
The accident occurred Wednesday night at Thondebavi shortly after the
Karnataka Express train bound for New Delhi and carrying more than 1,500
passengers, left the southern Bangalore city, 1,100 miles south of New
Searchers recovered 35 bodies from inside the train and about 100
were injured in the accident, the Press Trust said. However, officials
of state-run Indian Railway put the death toll at 12.
The latest reports from the accident scene reaching the Indian
capital said workers were cutting window bars in a frantic search for
possible survivors trapped in the wreckage.
The news agency said heavy rain loosened earth, causing the boulders
to roll down a hill and onto the tracks.
Eleven cars of the New Delhi-bound train derailed, the Press Trust
reported, quoting searchers.


From: Ajai Banarji <


Date: 04 Nov 1991 11:19:00 -0500

Railway news

(Compiled from Times of India upto Oct 17)

The Konkan Railway is likely to be completed by Oct 1994. The Mangalore-Udipi
and Apta-Dasgaon sections are likely to be completed by mid-1992. Due to some
agitation in Goa, the route has been changed and is shortened by about 70 km.
The Deccan Queen has been repainted to a new blue and cream (grey?) color scheme.
The railway minister had said that the # of halts for long distance trains
are too many and that they would be reduced.
A number of accidents have been reported recently. One less-noticed accident
was on the Jalandhar-Amritsar main line where a patrol train was derailed and
8 security personnel were killed. If the militants are able to attack even the
main lines like this, train services to Punjab may be affected. This would
probably be a major propaganda victory for the militants.

From: apte <

Subject: Pathetic Maximum Speeds

Date: 06 Nov 1991 07:35:00 -0500

Subject: Pathetic Maximum Speeds
Date: Wed, 06 Nov 91 09:35:05 PST

Hi Folks,

Just out of curiosity, I computed the average speeds of the fastest
non-Rajdhani/Shatabdi superfast trains that connect the nation's
metros. The results were as follows:

Gitanjali -> 59.63 kmph
Corromondel -> 61.62
T.N. -> 65.91
BCT-JAT Superfast -> 68.26 (Between BCT-NDLS)
Chennai -> 53.33
Kalka Mail -> 57.83 (Between HWH-NDLS)

The Kalka Mail does not really belong in this band, but surprisingly it
is the next fastest train after the Raj for the full New-Delhi Howrah
run. The BCT-JAT comes out as the fastest and the Chennai as the
slowest, the latter obviously badly hit by the BBVT-MAS single-line.
These numbers include all stops, but when I eliminated all stoppage
times and subtracted additional 5 minutes for slowing down and
accelerating per stop, the spped of the BCT-JAT improved to only 73.31, while
the T.N. improved to 69.23 - the average improvement seems to be in the
range of 4 kmph when one eliminates all stoppages: NOT MUCH.

As is quite obvious the speeds are rather pathetic for
top-of-the-line Superfast services. Several of these trains have been
slowed down from original speeds which I suspect were somewhat faster
than this. But at the very least, I think IR should shoot for having a
minimum of 80 kmph (which as a benchmark for us firangis :-) is 50 mph
- slower than the max freeway speed) for these inter-metro services.
Rajdhani average should be 90 kmph, and Shatabdi, maybe 100 kmph. I
think this is perfectly possible with the existing services, if one
allows a max speed of 120, 130, and 140 kmph for the Superfast, Raj,
Shatabdis respectively, thus leaving the average still a good 40 kmph
less than the max.

The impact on inter-city timings would be dramatic: Bombay-Howrah
would be ~25 hrs, Howrah-Madras would be ~21 hrs, N. Delhi-Madras would
be ~28 hrs. Two things are critical for that, one is the upgrading of
speed and decrease in stoppages of the trains which are designated to
be these superfast services; and the second is what Vijay has said
before: the introduction of intermediate level trains so that the best
trains are not slowed down. The G.T., Paschim Exp/Frontier Mail, are
ideal for this No. 2 role, but such trains do not exist for N.
Delhi-Howrah; Bombay-Howrah; where the drop from the
Raj, and the Gitanjali is directly to the Kalka Mail and the Howrah
Mail respectively.

Until that happens, I VERY SADLY to conclude that the best of IR are
not very fast at all :-(


From: Ajai Banarji <


Date: 15 Nov 1991 15:06:00 -0500

Railway news from here and there

The new suburban line in Madras was opened in mid-Sep. Trains are now
running between Madras Beach and Park Town, about 3 km. This is part of
the Madras Beach-Luz project.
The "missing link" in the Calcutta metro may take another 4 years to
complete. This is the section between Belgachia and Esplanade, about 6 km.
(A personal note; the company I was working with got a big contract in
1988 to supply and install equipment on this section. They backed out because
the railways did not have the site ready in time. There seems to have been
a lot of problem in acquiring land here. Probably the Centre was trying
to make things difficult for Jyoti Basu.)
Meanwhile, the Bengal government is interested in exchanging the metro
for another 8 km from Tollygunge to link with the suburban lines at Garia.
This project is estimated to take 4.5 years to complete, but has not been
cleared yet.
The central government has cleared a number of new projects in Assam
(including IIT Gauhati !)and conversion to broad gauge of the Gauhati-
Dibrugarh section. However, the railways have said that they have no money
for this project.
Another major project going on in Assam is the construction of a bridge
at Jogighopa (near Bongaigaon) which will lead to a separate line to Gauhati
along the south bank of the Brahmaputra. The railways had also comstructed
a road bridge at Tezpur a few years ago.
Our railway minister continues to make speeches about improving services.
Electrificaton upto Bangalore and conversion of Bangalore-Mysore section
are expected within a year or so. Another idea of his is to create 4 new
zonal railways including the South Western railway with HQ at-you guessed
Anyway, if this comes through timetable buffs will have to carry 13
timetables instead of 9 at present. If you think the present-day Bradshaw
is complicated, the pre-partition ones were far worse as there were many
more zones (actually, separate railway companies) in those days.
Anyway, the story of how the present zones were formed is quite interesting,
and can be told separately.


Subject: Avg. speeds!

Date: 20 Nov 1991 16:25:00 -0500

Hi Folks,

Thanks for the news summary, Ajai. Looks like our rly. minister is all set
to "uplift" Bangalore City to new heights. That's fine with me so long as he
includes the Bombay-Madras trunk route in his list :-).

Earlier, Pushkar had sent a very interesting note on the avg. speeds of
various trains connecting the four metropolitan cities. This prompted me to
find out the avg. commercial speeds of the Shatabdi and Rajdhani exps:-

Bhopal Shatabdi - 90.94 kmph
Bombay Rajdhani - 82.83 "
Delhi Rajdhani - 81.37 "
Kanpur Shatabdi - 77.01 "
Kalka Shatabdi - 59.89 "

The Kanpur Shatabdi is quite fast in the Delhi-Kanpur section (~87 kmph.) but
slows down to a pathetic 50 kmph. in the largely single-line, unelectrified,
Kanpur-Lucknow stretch. Similar is the case with the Kalka Shatabdi which
travels at ~80 kmph. between N.Delhi and Ambala Cant., but is reduced to a
miserable 50 kmph. train during the rest of the journey.

Pushkar mentions that the Kalka mail is the next fastest train between
Delhi and Calcutta, after the Rajdhani. Well, there are the AC Deluxe Exps.
which are somewhat faster than the Kalka Mail in the common stretches,
but end up taking more time between Delhi and Howrah b'coz of longer routes.

The Gitanjali, Coromandel, Tamilnadu and Jammu Tawi exps. have been slowed
down during the past decade or so, with the result that their avg. speeds have
dropped down. Moreover, additional halts have appeared.

Gitanjali - used to cover the 1968 km. Bombay-Howrah route in about 29 hrs.
commercical speed -> 67.86 kmph.

Coromandel - used to cover the 1664 km. Howrah-Madras route in about 25 hrs.
comm. speed -> 66.56 kmph.

Tamilnadu - used to have a comm. speed of ~70.48 kmph. (would cover the 2185 km.
Delhi-Madras route in about 31 hrs.)

Jammu Tawi - used to have a comm. speed of ~74.81 kmph. between Bombay and Delhi
(would cover 1384 kms. in about 18 1/2 hrs.)

So, one can see that the comm. speeds have decreased by about 5-7 kmph.



From: apte <

Subject: X2000

Date: 22 Nov 1991 12:58:00 -0500

There was an interesting little article in the N. Y. Times this
morning. The following is the gist:

Amtrak is going to import an X2000 train-set from Sweden and
try it out in the North-east corridor. The key advantage of this
train-set is that due to a unique "tilting" system, the train is able
to maintain high speed (125 mph) over curves (presumably above some
minimum radius of curvature). The N.Y.-Boston line is full of curves
and the X2000 is expected to cut the time there from 4 to 3 hours.
N.Y.-Washingot on the other hand is mostly straight and the X2000 will
at most shave 5-10 mins off the existing 2:35 standard for the

I had read about the X2000 earlier, but have now forgotten about the
technical details of this tilting system. If someone knows the
details and can post them, that would be great. Also, do either the
TGV or the Shinkansen have such a system?


From: Ajai Banarji <


Date: 22 Nov 1991 16:29:00 -0500


The longest name of a railway station in India is
Venkatanarasimharajuvaripeta, on the Arakkonam-Renigunta section of the
Southern Railway. As far as I know this is the longest name of any railway
station in the world. The previous record was held by a place in Wales
called Llanfairpwllgwll......siliogogogoch (total 58 letters). Although
this station is closed now, it used to be a tourist attraction and the
platform tickets were considered to be valuable souvenirs.
Other long names on the Indian railways include:
Fatehabad Chandrawatiganj(WR)
Narayan Pukurer Murail (SE)-being the names of three villages served by
the station
Tiruchchirapalli Palakarai(SR)
Tiruppadiripuliyur(SR) -some years back it was expanded from Tiruppapuliyur
Giani Zail Singh Sandhwan (NR)-The Khalistanis must have renamed it by now
Srinivasa Udasipuram (SC)
Guru Teg Bahadur Nagar (CR)-renamed from Koliwada

Leaving the railways for a moment, the longest name for any district in
India is probably Pasumpon Mathuramalingam in Tamil Nadu.The longest name
for any major city would probably be Tiruchchirapalli, Visakhapatnam or
Vizianagaram. Trivandrum will try to catch up after being renamed Thiruvananthapuram.
How about the shortest name? The Indian railways have one two-letter name,
Ib on the Jharsuguda-Bilaspur section of the South Eastern Railway. There are
a few other two-letter stations in other countries. In fact, there is a
town in some European country called O (or was it A?).
There are a few stations and cities with 3 letter names in India, such as
Ara, Bir and Bad. Ara and Bir would be the shortest name of districts, though
the Bir station is somehere else.