IRFCA Mailing List Archive

Messages 821 - 840

From: apte <

Subject: Current Threads

Date: 02 Apr 1992 07:42:00 -0500

Thanx to Jishnu, Shekhar, and Vijay for all the information on dynamic
braking in diesel locos.

Appropos Vijay's comment about explicit
allowance for trains running late to "cover-up", this is indeed in
evidence in several instances on significant differences between Up and
Down timings. Typically during the APPROACH to a major station the
timings are slower (i.e. allowing for the train to cover-up).
Some examples are
Bombay, Delhi, Igatpuri, Bhusaval, Itarsi, Howrah, Mughalsarai, etc...
However, in several cases, like the ill-fated Mahalaxmi Express, the
timings in the time-table do not reflect existing speed-restrictions
and there is literally no way the train can be on schedule. For
instance, currently when I was in India, many trains have been
scheduled to run the Vadodara-Bharuch section in 50 mins (~70 kms) at
an average of 85 kmph, but speed restrictions are in force so that no
train can do this run in less than 1 hr 15 mins (with all green
lights). I guess now that they publish time-tables only
once a year, the discrepancy between working time-tables and public
time-tables is going to be even larger.

While on accidents, does anyone know the details of an averted
accident, sometime in the early 70s, I think. I remember it as follows.
The Dehradun Express got on to the bridge across the Damanganga river
near Valsad. Afetr getting on the bridge, the driver decided that it
was not safe and he unilateraly BACKED the train off the bridge.
Not much later the bridge was broken by the raging Damanganga, and
the Bombay-Vadodara section was paralyzed for days to come.
Is the part about the Dehradun Express fact or legend?


From: Ajai Banarji <


Date: 03 Apr 1992 18:45:00 -0500

This and that

Nice to see Pushkar back-I thought he had graduated and disappeared into
no-net land. The incident he mentioned about the Damanganga bridge is true,
but I am not altogether sure if the train was the Dehradun Express.

Some news.....
A few years ago (In Ghani Khan's time) the Railway Reforms Committee
proposed the formation of 4 new railway zones (which would make the total 13).
These were to be:

North Western-HQ at Ajmer
East Central-Jabalpur
North Central-Allahabad
South Western-Bangalore

However, the Minister of State for Railways recently said in parliament
that there was no proposal to create any more zones.) Good news for
timetable buffs-otherwise you would need to buy 13 different timetables.
However, I think that some splitting would be beneficial. Take Central
Railway-it stretches all the way from Bombay to Allahabad and Tuglakhabad
(on the outskirts of Delhi)-it must be a bit difficult to watch over this
network from Bombay. To a lesser extent Northern and Western also cover
a large territory. Probably the creation of a new zone based at Ajmer
would make sense. This would contain the Jodhpur and Bikaner divisions of
NR and at least the Jaipur and Ajmer divisions of WR, possibly other MG
dicisions of WR like Rajkot and Bhavnagar. This would create a compact zone
and make NR a fully broad-gauge network. Similarly, if the latter two
divisions of WR were included then WR would also become a fully broad-gauge
network which would be easier to manage. However, it could be that this
proposal was simply to give more importance to Rajasthan-it is commonly
said among railwaymen that the SC zone was not really needed, but was the
handiwork of someone who wanted more jobs in Andhra Pradesh.
But then, there is nothing sacrosanct about the present group of 9 zones.
Here is a brief history of the changes so far (I am not including the
minor adjustments)
In the early 50s, there were only 6 zones :NR,WR,CR,NE,ER,SR These were
created out of amalgamating all the existing railways.
By 1955 it was realized that the workload on the Eastern zone was too
much, so the South Eastern was carved out. There was not much problem here
as the new SER was essentially the old Bengal Nagpur Rly.
By 1958, it was again realised that the NER stretching from Agra to
Dibrugarh was too difficult to manage from Gorakhpur, so a new NF zone
was created with HQ at Pandu (Gauhati) to cover the extreme east.
By 1966, the workload of SR and CR was said to be too much, so a new
zone SC was created with HQ at Secunderabad. This initially consisted
of the Vijayawada and Hubli sections of SR and Sholapur and Secunderabad
sections of CR.
For the next few years there were a lot of agitations by
people in Sholapur division who wanted it to merge in CR-it had something
to do with Maharashtrians feeling that they would not get railway jobs if the
HQ was in Secunderabad. In the late 1970s finally Sholapur division went to
CR and Guntakal division was transferred from SR to SC as compensation.

One other news snippet from our friendly western neighbour. It was reported
that the Pakistani security forces will mount machine guns on the front and
rear of all passenger trains passing through disturbed areas of Sind. Attacks
by dacoits armed with rocket launchers etc. are quite common on some routes,
particularly on the Hyderabad-Larkana-Rohri section. However, the situation
on our side of the border in Punjab is almost as bad, as most night services
of passenger trains have been cancelled close to the border-this includes the
main Jalandhar-Amritsar line.


Subject: Accidents on IR!

Date: 06 Apr 1992 17:26:00 -0500

Hi Folks,
On the topic of accidents, here are a few off the top of my head (I am not
sure about the corresponding time-frames though):-
1. The Deluxe exp. rams into a stationary goods train near Naini. Apparently,
the goods train was being subjected to pilferage.
2. The overcrowded Saharsa - Banmakhi passenger falls into a river.
3. The Tamilnadu Exp. derails near Sirpur Kaghaz Nagar.
4. The Dakshin Exp. hits a goods train near Agra Cant, in heavy fog. Faulty
signalling was cited as the reason for this disaster.
5. The Karnataka Exp. derails while crossing a river near Babina (last year?)
6. The Trivandrum Mail is involved in an accident with two other trains, near
7. The Sangam Exp. hits some derailed wagons of a goods train (which had
been traveling on the other track)
8. The Bangalore - Trivandrum Exp. derails near Quilon.
9. A Thane bound local rams into another stationary local from behind. This
happened near Sion. The impact was so severe that one of the coaches of
the rear train landed on top of a second coach. I was studying in the
library of my good ol' SIES college when a loud noise brought me to my
senses and I dashed out....
10. A Bandra bound local takes off from Vadala Rd. and starts to branch away
from the main track near Ravli Jn. An incorrect setting of points causes
a Bombay bound (Harbour Branch) local, traveling in the opposite direction,
to merge into the track occupied by the former train. What ensues is too
morbid to describe...

Changing the topic, here's an article on the Bombay - Jammu Tawi superfast exp.
on its inaugural run (from Dec. 1976 issue of Indian Railways)

The scenic beauty of Kashmir, "a paradise on earth" (sure!!!), has been
brought closer to Bombay with the introduction of a new superfast train between
Jammu and Bombay.
Shri. Mohd. Shafi Qureshi, Minister of State for Railways, waved the green
flag to inaugurate this superfast train at Jammu Tawi railway station on Dec.
24, 1976.
The new train would provide a boon for holiday-makers from Bombay side, who
constitue more than half of about 2,50,000 tourists visiting Kashmore Valley
every year. They will now cover the 2000 km. distance in just 28 hours-about
12 hours sooner than before [comparing it with the Frontier Mail/Jammu Tawi
Mail combination]. Besides, the trip by this train would involve only one
night's journey, whereas the journey between the two cities by other trains
involves two nights.
The train leaves from Jammu Tawi on Tuesdays and Saturdays at 18.15 hours.
>From Bombay Central, the train runs on Mondays and Fridays at 6.25 hours
reaching New Delhi the next day at 1.04 hours and Jammu Tawi at 10.15 hrs.
[alas, it has been slowed down by 4 hrs.] After leaving Jammu Tawi, the
superfast train stops at Jullundhar Cant, Ludhiana, Ambala, New Delhi, Kota,
Ratlam, Vadodara, Surat and Bombay Central [it now has additional halts at
Chakki Bank, Subzi Mandi*, Harzat Nizamuddin**, Mathura, Nagda, Godhra,
Borivali*, Dadar* * -> only the Bombay bound train
** -> only the Jammu bound train]
The diesel hauled fourteen coach train has three first class coaches,
six 3-tier second class sleepers and two air-conditioned composite coaches
having first class AC-cum-chair car accomodation. There is a pantry car in
the train to serve hot food and snacks. The train is fully vestibuled.
[from the photo, the color coding scheme seems to be:-
light blue above the windows
green below the windows
a yellow band across the windows
a green stripe just above the windows
a set of green and yellow stripes just below the windows
The train has now acquired the red monotone, as is the case with most of
the other IR trains]


From: Jishnu Mukerji <

Subject: First Light Rail System?

Date: 07 Apr 1992 17:24:00 -0500

Read a report on netnews today which says:

HYDERABAD - The proposal to introduce a Light Rail Transit
System (LRTS) -the first of its kind in the country - to
meet the growing transport needs of the twin cities of Hyderabad
would soon get the Centre's clearance and work on the Rs. 350
crore project would commence later this year, Andhra Pradesh CM
N. Janardhana Reddy."

The question that comes to mind is about the claim that this is the
first light rail system in India. So what kind of a rail system is the
Calcutta Tramways Corporation running? What are the differences between
a "Streetcar" system and a "Light Rail System"? Just wondering and
soliciting everyone's opinion on the subject.

Jishnu Mukerji,
+1 908 522 5024,
UNIX System Laboratories Inc.*
(*A subsidiary of AT&T)
SF 1-346, 190 River Rd.,
Summit NJ 07901


Subject: Accident news!

Date: 13 Apr 1992 13:55:00 -0500

Dug this one up from SCI:-
Copyright 1992 Agence France Presse
Agence France Presse

April 7, 1992

Indian train crash toll climbs to 21

Ten more bodies were pulled from the wreckage of a train that had smashed
into the back of a freight train in southern India, bringing the death toll in
the accident to 21, press reports said Tuesday.

Fifteen people were injured in the accident late Sunday night near the
Sundra railway station in Andhra Pradesh state, the Press Trust of India (PTI)
said, adding that four of them were hospitalised in serious condition.

Eleven were confirmed dead Monday, and rescue workers found 10 more bodies
overnight after they cut through the passenger train's mangled coaches which had
been hurled off the tracks.

One wagon was twisted into the shape of an "A" in the collision, which was
heard two kilometres (1.2 miles) away, The Hindu newspaper said.

It said the passenger train, running at a speed of about 80 kilometres (48
miles), jumped three signals before ramming into the back of the stationary
freight train near Sundra in Andhra Pradesh's Guntur district.

Local villagers used a bonfire for light to help a few passengers climb out
with the aid of ropes and ladders, but rescue operations gained momentum only at
daybreak Monday, The Hindu said.

An official inquiry has been ordered into the accident, the worst on the
state-run railway network since a train derailment in north India on December
7 killed 25 passengers.
Sylvia D. D'Cruz
Mead Data Central Systems & Product Technology
Bldg. VI, 9595 Springboro Pike
Miamisburg, Ohio 45342 (513) 865-6800


Could someone provide further info. such as the name of the passenger train
involved in the accident?


From: Ajai Banarji <


Date: 15 Apr 1992 15:49:00 -0500


Some of the budget news wasn't reported on this group earlier, so here it
New electrification schemes to be taken up:
Ambala-Moradabad (Via Saharanpur)
Renigunta-Guntakal-Hospet and Tornagallu-Ranjitpura branch (essentially for
iron ore traffic)
Vijayawada-Visakhapatnam including Samalkot-Kakinada branch
Jamadoba-Mohuda (this is in Dhanbad area)

Of course, we cannot say when these schemes will be finished.
There was also mention of massive gauge conversion, but the routes were not
mentioned in the budget speech. From subsequent reports, this is what I
could gather. It is not very clear whether these conversions are actually
sanctioned or are merely wishful thinking of the railway ministry:

Guwahati-Dibrugarh and connected branch lines
Rangiya-Murkong Selek
Kot Kapura-Fazilka
Muzaffarpur-Gorakhpur via Bagaha-Chhitauni
Samastipur-Narkatiaganj via Raxaul
Miraj-Kurduwadi-Latur (this is a narrow gauge line)
Madras-Dindigul via chord line (Dindigul-Madurai is nearing completion)

Other post-budget announcements included two new trains; a tri-weekly fast
train from Delhi to Orissa, and a Sainik Express from Delhi to Jhunjhunu.

From: Ajai Banarji <


Date: 17 Apr 1992 14:16:00 -0500


Recently IR has placed an order for 30 high-powered AC 3-phase locos
from ABB (Asea Brown Boveri). This is probably a pilot order prior to
their manufacture in India. There are two types of loco: Co-Co for freight
and Bo-Bo for passenger.
As is usual, politics has got dragged in. This purchase was through an
international bank (the ADB). Their rules state that an indigenous supplier
would be given price preference. Accordingly, BHEL formed a consortium with
Sumitomo and bid. However, ADB said that their bid did not count as an
indigenous bid as the value added in India was too low. So ABB had the lowest
bid which was accepted.
There were a number of questions asked in parliament about kickbacks in this
deal (ABB, like Bofors, is Swedish-or at least is partly owned by Swedish
shareholders). However, since ADB was involved the government could deflect
the criticism.
There is a lot of talk of economising on the railways. To begin with, one
of the posts on the railway board has been reduced. Earlier there was a
chairman with no functional responsibility and 6 members for Engineering (i.e.
Civil), Mechanical, Electrical, Traffic, Staff and Finance. The Electrical
post came a few years ago. Apparently now the chairman will look after one
of the functions, thus reducing the board from 7 to 6. There is also much
talk about subcontracting catering, security and other functions. The large
number of surplus staff which will be caused by closure of steam loco workshops
etc. are likely to cause problems in the next few years.



Date: 23 Apr 1992 18:11:00 -0500

Ajai writes:
> New electrification schemes to be taken up:
> Ambala-Moradabad

Part of the project to electrify the so-called "B" lines under the
Northern Rly. Should be followed by electrification of Moradabad -
Lucknow, and Lucknow - Varanasi - Mughal Sarai.

> Renigunta-Guntakal-Hospet and Tornagallu-Ranjitpura branch (essentiallfor

Might be accompanied by doubling of Gooty - Renigunta.

> Chandil-Muri-Barkakana

For facilitating movement of goods traffic carrying coal and iron ore.
Trains such as the Tata - Amritsar Exp. can now be hauled by an elec.
loco. between Tatanagar and Barkakana. Note that Tatanagar to Chandil
is already electrified. I have a feeling that Muri - Bokaro Steel Cit
- Chandrapura would be electrified, subsequently.

> Jhajha-Patna-Mughalsarai.

Would avoid loco. changeovers at Mughal Sarai (for trains employing
the Allahabad - Mirzapur - Mughal Sarai route), and Asansol.

>There was also mention of massive gauge conversion, but the routes werenot
>mentioned in the budget speech. From subsequent reports, this is what I
>could gather. It is not very clear whether these conversions are actualy

> Mau-Azamgarh-Shahganj

Would provide an alternate route between Sonpur and Lucknow via
Bhatni, Mau, Shahganj, Faizabad.

> Miraj-Kurduwadi-Latur (this is a narrow gauge line)

Could have direct trains between Kolhapur/Miraj and Secunderabad/Madras.
Latur Rd. (in the Vikrabad - Parli Vaijnath section) and Latur appear
to be different stns.? Is there a link between them? If so, then
alternate routes between Secunderabad - Kurduwadi, and Manmad - Miraj
would be created.

> Delhi-Ahmedabad

IMHO, a major conversion project. Would not only bring important citie
such as Ajmer and Jaipur into the BG map, but also provide an alternate
route between Bombay and Delhi via Ahmedabad - Abu Rd. - Ajmer - Jaipur.
Would also bring Jodhpur into the BG map, if Jodhpur-Marwar gets

> Madras-Dindigul via chord line (Dindigul-Madurai is nearing completion

The Madras - Villupuram MG line would be retained as this is already
an electrified section and suburban trains run between Madras and
Tambaram. Once Madurai - Virudhunagar - Vanchi Maniyanchi - Kanniyakum
ari gets converted, an alternate, possibly shorter route would be
provided between Madras and Kanniyakumari.

> Recently IR has placed an order for 30 high-powered AC 3-phase locos
>from ABB (Asea Brown Boveri). This is probably a pilot order prior to
>their manufacture in India. There are two types of loco: Co-Co for freiht
>and Bo-Bo for passenger.

That's good news! One could expect the Bombay - Delhi Rajdhani Exp. ne of these locos. during its e
to be hauled by one of these elec. locos. without the need for any
loco. changeovers. In fact, all Bombay - Delhi trains might be



Subject: Rly. news!

Date: 24 Apr 1992 10:54:00 -0500


* 20 killed in Train Accident in Andhra Pradesh:

Vijayawada: At least 20 persons were feared killed when a passenger
train rammed into a stationary goods train at Tsundur south cabin
near Tenali, 40 km from here. The driver and assistant driver of the
passenger train were among the killed.
The Betragunta-Vijayawada passenger passed past a red signal
before hitting the good trains. The engine and the first bogie were
completely smashed under the impact of collission.


From: Ajai Banarji <


Date: 28 Apr 1992 13:43:00 -0500


You must have seen the report on the Tsunduru accident. Tsunduru is an
interesting station name-the only station in Bradshaw which starts with
"Ts". Although it is a rather small station, the signboard reads
Tsunduru Junction since the Tenali avoiding line takes off from here. This
enables Guntur-bound trains coming from Madras side to avoid Tenali. I don't
think any passenger train uses this bypass.
Tsunduru was in the news a few months back, due to some serious caste
Some other news about ongoing projects:
The Koraput-Rayagada line is to be opened in a few months. It is not clear
if any passenger service will run in the beginning. This line includes the
longest tunnel on IR at 1.6 km. The previous record is (probably) held by
the Parsik tunnel near Thane which is 1.3 km long. However, I have seen
some reference which says that a tunnel on the new Karjat-Khandala 3rd
line is longer.
However, this record will soon be broken by the proposed 6.4 km-long
tunnel near Ratnagiri on the Konkan railway. The Konkan railway is still
suffering from political problems in Goa and the alignment is still not
fixed. They still hope to complete it in Oct 1994. Remember that this is
the largest railway project in India in the 20th century.
Coming back to tunnels, I hope someone from Bombay side can clarify
some details about the Parsik tunnel. Where exactly is it? My guess is
between Thane and Diva. It was built in 1913 when the Bombay-Kalyan line
was quadrupled. If I remember right, only 2 of the 4 lines pass through
the tunnel.
When the new 6.4 km long tunnel is opened, it will also be the longest
tunnel in the sub-continent. That record was held by the Khojak tunnel
on the Quetta-Chaman section which is 3.9 km long. When it was opened
in 1891 it was the 4th longest tunnel in the world. This line is still
used and has one pair of passenger trains a day. Incidentally, though
there is not much traffic on this route it has a double track through the
tunnel-possibly since the British were afraid of a Russian invasion from
Afghanistan and felt that they would have to move a lot of troop trains
in a hurry.
Finally, work has now started on the Talcher-Sambalpur line. Although
it is primarily meant for ore traffic, it will be possible to start
running express trains from the beginning since the track is better
constructed compared to most other new lines. This would enable better
train services from coastal Orissa to northern Orissa. For example,
trains from Cuttack/Puri could travel to Sambalpur or Rourkela in
considerably less time compared to the present route via Kharagpur or
Vizianagaram. The Utkal express could also be run on this route.

From: Sanjiv Narayan <

Subject: Indian Railway Anecdotes : Appropriate ??

Date: 28 Apr 1992 14:01:00 -0500

After being a passive reader on this mailing list, I am wondering
if I should post some of the more interesting stuff about railways -
i.e. stuff which you will not see in any newsgroup or Magazine.

The problem is that the anecdotes that I am planning to post on IRFCA :

1) involves ex-railway officials (mostly ministers).
2) may show them in a humorous or bad light
3) being hearsay, cannot be proven
4) was obtained from a number of current/ex-railway officials
who may be family or friends of mine.

Things that I may be posting may include:

- How some of our well known politicians travel in style/luxury on
our Railways.
- Discussion on some of the procedures which are followed when a
head of state (or say an ex-PM) travels on Indian Railways.
- Discussion on some of the peculiar perks available to Railway
- How railways is a cash-rich cow for any politician who wants to
milk it.

What do you guys think ? Is it fair game to post accounts of incidents
which are humorous, involve real people and possibly slanderous ? I could
omit the names, I guess. An example is posted below. If you think such
articles are in poor taste, do let me know.
Please send me email at ( Thanks.

Sanjiv Narayan

Dept. of Information & Computer Sceince
University of California, Irvine


A certain portly Governor of West Bengal in the 80's found it very
uncomfortable to air-dash to Delhi everytime the high-command requested
his presence in the capital. Being a friend of the then railway minister,
he requested and obtained a special "saloon" which was attached to one of
trains (I can't recall the name, it used to reach Delhi in the morning)
whenever he had to come to Delhi. A saloon is an entire coach, with
a living room, two bedrooms (with attached bath), a secretary cabin, and
kitchen, and cabins for the cooks, peons etc. Typically they are available
only to senior railway officials who go on inspection tours.

Saloons are usually attached to the end of a train since they have facilities
for viewing the track/signalling/etc. But the Hon'ble Governor was paranoid
about being rear-ended and insisted everytime that his saloon be attached to
the center of the train. Shunting half of the train around in the cramped
yard of New Delhi station was an operations nightmare.

Being of a size greater than his position, the Hon'ble Governor abhorred
having to climb the steps to reach/leave platform 6 (or 7) where train usually
arrived. So, at his request, the train would always arrive at platform 1
whenever he was traveling. That might have been OK if its were not for the
fact that trains from the east via Ghaziabad approaching Delhi are usually
sent to platforms 5-9 and those approaching from the south via Tughlakabad
are directed to platforms 1-4 (this is to avoid a crossover during the busy
morning hours when there are quite a few trains approaching Delhi from the
east (Calcutta, Lucknow, Patna and Allahabad etc.) and south/west (Madras,
Bombay, Ahmedabad, etc.).

To allow that one train to crossover to platform 1 would cause a ripple effect
which would in effect, delay each and every train arrving in Delhi that morning.
Announcers and people manning the information booths knew it would be a bad
day whenever the Hon'ble Governor was coming to town.

From: apte <

Subject: Re: -

Date: 30 Apr 1992 14:37:00 -0500

Re: Ajai's query about the Parsik tunnel at Thane - it is
indeed between Thane and Diva Jn. Fast locals and long distance trains
go thru the tunnel which bypasses two small stations Kalwa and Mumbra.
These two stations are serviced only by slow locals whose tracks go
around the hill.

Re: Sambalpur line - maybe that will lead to a train from
Bombay V.T. to Cuttack/Bhubaneshwar/Puri. Currently I believe that two
coaches go Bombay-Bhubaneshwar via a Minar Exp/Konarak Exp connection,
and there is no direct train to either Cuttack or Puri. Also, correct
me if I'm wrong but I believe that the Utkal Express is extinct, and only
the Kalinga Express survives on the N.Delhi-Bina-Katni-Bilaspur-
Kharagpur-Puri route. I
have a feeling that this development happened simultaneously with
the Neelanchal Express being made daily via two different routes.

Re: Anecdotes - Keep going dude, anything that shows up the rotten system
for what it is, is very welcome.


From: Sanjiv Narayan <

Subject: (YARA) Yet Another Railway Anecdote

Date: 05 May 1992 11:57:00 -0500

As I promised earlier, here is another anecdote from the railways.
Fact or Fiction : I leave it to you to decide.

Sanjiv Narayan
University of California, Irvine


This happened in Orissa. A contractor, X, bidding for some work with the
S.E. Railway had approached the deputy minister for railways, M,
for a favorable consideration. A price was set for the favor and the
contractor agreed to pay the deputy minister a fixed amount after the
contract was awarded to his firm. So the file was forwarded to the
deputy minister who marked it "APPROVED".

So far so good. Only, once the contract was awarded, X balked at paying
M the price agreed on earlier. He had the contract already, what possibly
could M do now ? Not to be outdone, deputy minister M called for the file
again. The trick was how to reverse his previous noting on the file so
as not to raise eyebrows if ever an inquiry was ordered. So the Hon'ble M
simply prefixed "NOT" before his earlier note yielding "NOT APPROVED".
The date of the noting remain unchanged.

Caught unawares, X made a beeline for M's office, apologizing profusely
for his oversight in not keeping up his part of the deal. No problem,
said Hon'ble M, you can still get the contract - only, now the price for
getting it has doubled. Pay double the amount and the contract is yours.
Also, this time the money has to be paid up front.

Desperate, X coughed up the money. The big question now, how does M
reverse his previous ruling on the file without raising suspicion ?
The file is once again called in by the Hon'ble Minister, and by adding
exactly one letter, we get - "NOTE APPROVED" !!! Of course, the date of
the noting remained unchanged.


From: Ajai Banarji <


Date: 06 May 1992 10:30:00 -0500

Another rail story

Remember the story of how the Railway Board chief B.C.Ganguli was sacked
in 1971? This was important enough to make it into Time magazine. I am
reproducing the story without permission from Time, Oct 25, 1971. My comments
are in brackets.


There have been more dramatic dismissals-Harry Truman's firing of General
MacArthur in 1951 or Harold Macmillans simultaneous sacking of 7 cabinet ministers in 1962. But rarely has a top government official been given the boot in as
bizarre a fashion as was the chairman of India's Railway Board, B.C.Ganguli.
Since he was appointed to the cabinet earlier thgis year, Railway Minister
K.Hanumanthaiya,63 has been at loggerheads with Ganguli, his top civil servant.
Ganguli, 57, who was with the railroad for 34 years, was known to regard all
ministers as meddlesome, and the officious Hanumanthaiya as particularly so.
The minister reciprocated that feeling, and last week he saw an opportunity
to get rid of his adversary.
Ganguli, who had scheduled a 9-day inspection tour of Gujarat, had just got
comfortably ensconced, along with his wife and personal staff, in his air-
conditioned railroad car at a suburban Delhi station. (Sarai Rohilla). Shortly
before the train was to pull out, a junior official rushed up with a notice
from the minister that the trip had been cancelled. He also carried
instructions that the special car be detached. Angered, Ganguli ordered it
recoupled. It was, but some minutes later it was quietly detached once more
and the train pulled out. (It probably was the Ahmedabad express. In those
days a few trains used to start from Sarai Rohilla).
Spluttering with rage, Ganguli called a press conference on the platform. He
deplored this "attempted rape of the constitution". Not only would he die for
his cause, he said, but "I will appeal to the Supreme Court and to The Hague"
(i.e. the International Court). With that, he disappeared into his car, which
by now had been shunted into a siding, vowing not to come out until justice
had been done.
The minister's nextmove was to obtain a forced-retirement order from
President Giri. The order was duly tacked to the side of the immobilised car.
After six days, Ganguli ended his sit-in, but as a symbolic protest had the
private car chained to the tracks.
(I am sure that there must be similar stories about other ministers,
especially Ghani Khan. He seems to have created the most havoc for railway
Incidentally, Hanumanthaiya was sacked from the cabinet a few months after
this episode.)


Subject: Locomotive deal

Date: 15 May 1992 16:43:00 -0500

Hi Folks,
IRFCA seems to have fallen silent once again. How about more of those
amusing anecdotes, Sanjiv? The latest issue of India Today has an article
about the 3-phase elec. loco. deal with ABB (Asea Brown Boveri). Here are
some key sentences (reproduced without permission).

The scam that has engulfed Minister Jaffier C.K. Sharief over the contentiou
s $190 million (Rs. 532 crore) elec. loco. deal has kicked up enough dust for
the PM to have ordered an inquiry by the CBI......That the deal is scandelous
is obvious from the manner in which the contract was awarded. Never has the
Ministry of Railways seemed to be driven by so many engines, at the same time.
In awarding the loco. contract in March to the Swiss multinational, ABB, while
borrowing funds from the Asian Development Bank (ADB), Jaffer Sharief not only
contradicted the recommendations of his ministry's tender and finance
committees, but also those of the Dept. of Economic Affairs. All three had
preferred BHEL to ABB.......... The ADB had sanctioned a $190 million loan for
the modernization of the railways in 1987. It was only in June 1991 that the
bidding was declared open. Apart from the BHEL-Sumitomo-Hitachi consortium
being a Category I bidder - as the Indian company was assembling the technology
indigenously, it qualified for the 15% price preference under the ADB guideline
- the BHEL bid worked out cheaper than ABB b'coz it was exempted from customs
duty..............Yet, on March 14 this year, the Railway Ministry placed a
letter of acceptance with ABB for the purchase of 20 3-phase 6000 horsepower
elec. locos. and 10 passenger locos. at a cost of Rs. 532 crore [does this
mean that the passenger locos. are not 6000 HP.?].......While the BHEL design
-called the Bo-Bo-Bo system - was costlier than the Co-Co-Co variety put up
by ABB, not even a prototype of the Swiss design has yet been manufactured.
[Is Bo-Bo-Bo different from the Bo-Bo I am familiar with? At least, the
photo of the BHEL loco. shows that it is of the Bo-Bo type. The loco. looks
very similar to the WAG5]


From: Ajai Banarji <


Date: 15 May 1992 15:40:00 -0500

Classification of diesel and electric locomotives

Bo-Bo: OO OO


Bo-Bo-Bo: OO OO OO

The "o" in Bo-Bo indicates that each axle is individually driven. Most
contemporary diesel and electric locos are of Bo-Bo or Co-Co types. This
does not mean that other arrangements are impossible. One of the earlier
electric locos used in the Bombay area was (if I remember right) something
like 1-B-B-1. This meant: o OO o but the 2 axles of the large
driving wheels were not individually driven, but were linked by rods as in
the case of steam locos.
I suppose everyone is familiar with steam locos; if not, here are a few
examples of the Whyte notation:

4-6-2 oo OOO o (example: WP,YP)

2-8-2 o OOOO o (example: WG, YG)

Many of the common types had names. For example, 4-6-2s are generally
called Pacifics and 4-4-2s Atlantics. If I remember right, 2-8-2s are called
Consolidations (quite a mouthful).
Finally, I came across a picture of an NDM5 diesel loco. This is used on
the 2'0" narrow gauge lines out of Gwalior. They are given a different code
to distinguish them from the ZDMs used on the more common 2'6" narrow gauge
lines, like the line to Shimla.

From: Ajai Banarji <


Date: 18 May 1992 15:48:00 -0500


Strange, it seems that the Railways are very serious about the gauge
conversion business. They seem to have decided in principle to convert all
metre gauge (besides some narrow gauge) to broad gauge. Here is an extract
from an item in Times of India.
The railways have prepared a programme for conversion of 6000 route km
to broad gauge during the 8th plan (1990-95). Of these, 1200 route km will
be converted in 1992-93.
(Very ambitious target! How many years did they take for a small thing
like Bangalore-Mysore?)
The new board chairman, Dr. Y.P. Anand, announced that the following will
be converted during 1992-93.
My comments
Delhi-Rewari A good start, but it means that all trains from
Delhi to Rajasthan side will start from Rewari
as Delhi will have no MG.
Lalgarh (Bikaner)-Merta Road
Part of Kandla-Bathinda project.
Jaipur-Sawai Madhopur Can we expect new trains from Bombay and Calcutta
to Jaipur?
Nadiad-Kapadvanj This NG conversion has been going on for years.
Guwahati-Jagi Road The main trunk line of Assam. Jagi Road is about
halfway from Guwahati to Lumding.
Tuticorin-Madurai These conversions will not bring much benefit
Madurai-Dindigul unless they are accompanied by improved services
from Madras. Until the Madras-Villupuram-Tiruchi
section is converted, you cannot expect much
improvement of passenger services.
Chitradurg-Rayadurg This has just been completed in MG.
Guntur-Markapur Road This will be about halfway from Guntur to Guntakal.
If the MG line disappears, the north-south MG link
is broken.

A sum of Rs 550 crores had been earmarked for conversion in 1992-93. The
gauge conversion job had been stepped up by bringing the cost down from nearly
Rs 70 lakhs to rs 50 lakhs/km. Initially only the lined would be converted
and signalling improved where necessary. The work of lengthening platforms
and other facilities would be taken up later.
The chairman said that the decision to convert the entire MG network of over
23,000 km had been taken up to bring about balanced development and to remove
economic disparities. Academic studies have shown that new entrepeneurs shy
away from setting up industries in areas served by MG routes, as transhipment
causes delays and cost overruns.
Looks like the face of the railways are changing beyond recognition-first,
the electrification of trunk routes, then the Konkan Railway, now the
decision to abolish metre gauge. If only they could improve passenger

From: Sanjiv Narayan <

Subject: Yet Another Railway Anecdote

Date: 18 May 1992 21:13:00 -0500

Here is another anecdote from the railways.
Fact or Fiction : I leave it to you to decide.

Sanjiv Narayan
University of California, Irvine

At the height of a Lok Sabha election, a prominent political
figure, Hon'ble Train Roko, was campaigning in Jabalpur. He was to
board a train for his next election stop. As usual, he was
running behind schedule. Unfortunately, the train was ready to
depart right on time.

So the railway officials were contacted to see if they could kindly
delay the train's departure, till such time the Hon'ble Train Roko
could get done with all the garlanding/speech-giving etc and make it
to the station.

The railway officials were not willing to risk bad publicity in case
the press found out that the govt machinery was aiding ruling party
candidates (esp. in light of the famous Allahabad High Court ruling
against Indira Gandhi). So they politely declined to do any such
thing. The train would leave in time - rare for the railways.

Not to be outdone, the Hon'ble Train Roko came up with a better idea.
With the police at his disposal, he requested them to do a thorough
security check in the train, and if that did not stall the train long
enough, to conduct a search for illegal substances etc.

Well, while the cops did the poking and peeking, the Hon'ble Train Roko
did the speaking. He was able to make it to the train - though about
1.5 hours late.

Note : It seems, the state police can search trains on reasonable suspicion,
even though RPF normally has jurisdiction over railways.
(I wonder why they don't search the trains in Punjab for terrorists ??)



Date: 19 May 1992 17:56:00 -0500


An interesting anecdote, Sanjiv. Keep up the good work! Here are my
comments on Ajai's recent mail.

> Co-Co: OOO OOO

> Bo-Bo-Bo: OO OO OO

> The "o" in Bo-Bo indicates that each axle is individually driven. Most

True. But I fail to understand why a novel 00-00-00 arrangement,
necessitating three bogies (IMHO), would be preferred over the prevalent
000-000 design, requiring the same no. of axles and only two bogies.


> The new board chairman, Dr. Y.P. Anand, announced that the following ill
> be converted during 1992-93.

If I remember correctly, he was the General Manager of Central Rly, a
couple of years back.

> Delhi-Rewari A good start, but it means that all trains from
> Delhi to Rajasthan side will start from Rewari
> as Delhi will have no MG.

Maybe, they'll retain the Delhi-Rewari MG line (for a while) so that
services to Jodhpur and Bikaner remain unaffected. Of course, I am
assuming that the Delhi-Rewari conversion is just the start of the
Delhi-Ahmedabad conversion project.

> Jaipur-Sawai Madhopur Can we expect new trains from Bombay and Calcuta
> to Jaipur?

Sure. And, maybe we'll have a train from Madras, and a Rajdhani-type
exp. train from Bangalore :-)

> Nadiad-Kapadvanj This NG conversion has been going on for years.

This is part of a project to bring Modasa into the railway map. The
July 91 WR time-table map indicates that a new BG line from
Kapadvanj to Modasa is under construction.

> Burhwal-Sitapur

Is there any link between Sitapur Cant and Sitapur? If so, then
such a conversion would provide an alternate route between Gorakhpur and
Moradabad via Gonda, Burhwal, Sitapur, Sitapur Cant, Shahjahanpur and
Bareilly. Note that this route bypasses Lucknow.

> Tuticorin-Madurai These conversions will not bring much benefit
> Madurai-Dindigul unless they are accompanied by improved services
> from Madras. Until the Madras-Villupuram-Tiruchi
> section is converted, you cannot expect much
> improvement of passenger services.

This would bring Madurai/Tuticorin into the BG map. One could expect
direct trains between Bombay/Delhi/Calcutta and Madurai/Tuticorin.
Maybe, they'll retain the Dindigul-Madurai MG line so that the Pandyan
and Vaigai exps. remain unaffected and the other MG trains
from Madras terminate at Madurai (instead of Dindigul). Of course,
things would change once conversion of Dindigul-Tiruchi-Madras is taken


From: Sanjiv Narayan <

Subject: (YARA) Yet Another Railway Anecdote

Date: 20 May 1992 20:18:00 -0500

A lot of industries in the private sector require wagons for transporting
raw materials/finshed products. However, wagons are hard to come by and
often all a firm could do was to hope for divine intervention.

Luckily for them, the then Railway Minister was a deeply religious man.
Every day, the Hon'ble Minister (let's call him just Panditji), would
hold morning prayers at his ministerial residence. Occasionally, an
industrialist desiring a few rakes for his company, would join the
Panditji in the prayers.

The industrialist-turned-devotee would be greeted by the Personal
Assistant to Panditji and would be told that the Hon'ble Panditji was
busy in his prayers. Of course, if there was anything the industrialist
wanted to submit as an offering to the Lord Almighty, the P.A. was willing
to take it inside for the Panditji to do the needful. Surprisingly, the
industrialist always had something to offer.

If the Lord Almighty thought the offering was sufficient, Panditji would
then emerge from his chambers and patiently listen to the industrialists
problems. The name of the concerned officer was ascertained, and a phone
call from the P.A. was enough to make the wagons available instantly.

However, if the offering made was insufficient to meet the divine needs
of the Lord Almighty, then the industrialist was asked to make it on his
own to Rail Bhavan or Baroda House (N.R. HQ) to meet with the officer
conerned with a recommendation note from the minister.

This way, the industrialist got his rakes, Panditji got his take and
the Lord got faked.