IRFCA Mailing List Archive

Messages 1321 - 1340

From: S Pai <Pai>>

Subject: Re: Transit

Date: 29 Oct 1994 16:12:00 -0500

Pushkar asked:

> What *is* a "cow-catcher"?

A cow-catcher is a bent or triangular grill-like structure attached to the
front of a loco, very low down, which clears small obstructions from the tracks
by pushing them aside as the loco moves forward. The best-looking ones (IMHO)
are those found on older steam locomotives. Take a look at any book that has
photos of old steamers--you can't miss the structure. Perhaps a long time ago
when trains were considerably slower the device actually did push aside cows
gently if they were in the way, but today I fear they might just be squashed
flat, cow-catcher or not, if hit by a train; but the name persists.


From: Shrikant Ranade <

Subject: Re: Transit: Bombay and New Delhi

Date: 29 Oct 1994 16:44:00 -0500

Pushkar Apte writes:

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

The statistics in the two articles posted by Satish bear this out in
gruesome detail. Here are two excerpts, one from each.

First, about Bombay:

> The 2,000 trains on the suburban network in Bombay trundle nearly 5
> million people to work and back each day.
> "We can increase capacity 30 percent at a stroke by adding three more
> coaches to each train," he said. "Over the last two years, experiments with
> 12-coach trains on the Western Railway have worked out well."
> Each new train will cost around $1.27 million. To convert all the
> trains on Bombay's Western Railways system will require the equivalent of
> 20 new trains at a cost of around $25.5 million.

So, $25 million will increase the capacity of the system by 30%. This,
in a system that serves 5 million people per day, means a capacity increase
of over 1 million. That's $25 per passenger. Seems pretty reasonable to me.

Now, about Delhi:

> SINGAPORE -Global tenders floated early this month for a US$ 1 billion
> high-speed tram system in New Delhi should attract a strong response,
> the director of India's Surface Transport Ministry said.
> The system, with three air-conditioned coaches, is designed to carry
> between 100,000-150,000 passengers a day on a 10-15 km corridor. There will
> be nine corridors on the system, with the longest stretching 42 km.

So, $1 billion will create a new system that will serve 150000 passengers
per day per corridor. Even with 9 corridors, THAT'S $750 PER PASSENGER!!

And guess which project is getting funded? Talk about priorities!


From: S Pai <Pai>>

Subject: track maintenance

Date: 30 Oct 1994 14:28:00 -0500

The message from Arul posted a couple of days ago was unfortunately somewhat
garbled with control characters by the time it reached me, so I am not sure
what it said, but from the fragments that I could read it seemed like a
request for information on maintenance of locomotives and tracks.

I don't have any info on loco maintenance. Perhaps someone else can provide
some information there. As far as the tracks are concerned most of the work is
still done manually in India: time-consuming and also labour-intensive. They
usually have 1-5 gangmen assigned per km of track to do ballast packing and
cleaning manually. They do use tie tamping machines of various sorts. These
include off-track units that merely pack the ballast uniformly and have to be
carried or pushed around, and on-track units which move along under their own
power on the rails which in addition to packing and adjusting the sleepers can
also fix small defects in the cross and longitudinal levels of the rails
automatically. Some of these machines also open up the ballast to a
pre-specified depth, clean it, and re-pack it. These machines are produced
indigenously. Gauge calibration still has to be done manually, I think. There
are also track recording machines that go along the tracks and mechanically or
optically examine the track to locate gauge errors, levelling errors,
twisting, or curvature distortions in the rails, which are subsequently
corrected manually.

What is more difficult is detecting microscopic flaws in the rails before they
result in a visible defect such as a crack or fracture which can be very
dangerous. This is especially a problem in areas with high traffic density as
the rails age much more rapidly under repeated frequent stressing. They have
some ultrasonic apparatus that attempts to detect such flaws (examines the
internal structure of the rail) but using it is apparently a very slow process
(1 km/hr or 2 km/hr in the best case). It's a common sight to see the single
operator sitting in a little cart on the rails, pushed along by a couple of
other workers, moving slowly along the tracks. I wonder if they ever manage to
inspect all the tracks in a given region fully before it's time for the next
round of inspection to begin. :-) This is something that can surely be
automated and done much faster and more reliably?

Other than that, IR has a couple of track-laying machines that were either
loaned or donated by some other country, I don't think they are produced in
India. But most of the tracks are still laid manually. I think generally the
rails in the high traffic areas don't last more than 10-15 years and have to
be replaced after that.

If anyone has any information about any recent developments in track
technology for high-speed traffic, etc., please do post. What about the Konkan
Railway tracks, do they have any special features? (As an aside, one of the
news articles I saw recently said something about the chief of the Konkan
Railway project threatening to resign... Probably politics as usual!)



From: Arun Kumar <

Subject: Re: Hi! Who are you?

Date: 31 Oct 1994 12:28:00 -0500

I responded this morning to a subscription request from, obviously a site in India, with a
"Hello! Who are you?" The rsc could stand for the Railway
Staff College, and BRC is the railway code for Baroda
(now Vadodara) Central if I remember right. The Staff
College is closer to the Pratapnagar narrow guage station
than it is to BRC, but it is a possibility. I thought
I'd post a copy of my query on irfca just to let everyone
know that we may have a good source of information coming
directly to us on the net.

Three subscribers apparantly got the impression that
my inquiry was directed personally at them. It wasn't.
I apologize for the snafu.

Arun Kumar

From: Pushkar Apte <

Subject: Titbits

Date: 03 Nov 1994 06:07:00 -0500

Some stuff gleaned from a Vadodara Gujju newspaper. This paper is not
renowned for its accuracy, so the Surgeon-General advises a dose of
salt with the stuff until independently confirmed.

1. A new bi-weekly Bombay-Allahabad train has been started. It
travels via - now get this - Jhansi-Banda-Manikpur. (What kind of
brain-dead route is that for a BBVT-ALD train!) And it takes a
whopping 30 hours to make the journey. (Compare to 23-24 of the Cal

2. Karnavati Exp. will now halt at Bharuch, Anand and Nadiad. :-(

3. Bombay-Ahmadabad Shatabdi will now halt at - gulp, Palghar !!!
(This, I refuse to believe, but its what the printed word says!)


From: Vijay Balasubramanian <

Subject: Diwali!

Date: 03 Nov 1994 22:01:00 -0500

Hi Folks,

A VERY HAPPY (somewhat belated) DIWALI TO ALL OF YOU!!!!!!!!

My thanks to Alluri, Satish,.... for some interesting messages. Will respond
with some comments in the near future.

Every time I try to convince myself that the Bombay - Vadodara section boasts
of a series of prestigious, high quality trains, Pushkar comes out with
shocking stories about IR's continued attack on these trains!!! And this
time, the two Bombay - Ahmedabad superfasts have been singled out. The halt
at Palghar (if true) delivers a lethal blow to the non-Delhi-Shatabdi camp by
tarnishing the Bombay Shatabdi beyond repair. A couple more halts and this
train should be stripped off its Shatabdi stamp and referred to as plain
Bombay Ahmedabad Exp.

Bharuch has suddenly shot into limelight. How long before the Swaraj Exp.,
the Bombay Jaipur Exp. and the Frontier Mail succumb to his madness?


From: S Pai <Pai>>

Subject: new halts for "fast" trains.

Date: 03 Nov 1994 23:56:00 -0500

Pushkar wrote:

1. A new bi-weekly Bombay-Allahabad train has been started. [...]

2. Karnavati Exp. will now halt at Bharuch, Anand and Nadiad. :-(

3. Bombay-Ahmadabad Shatabdi will now halt at - gulp, Palghar !!! [...]

Hmm... Doesn't Gujarat (and for that matter Maharashtra) go to the polls in
a few months? >:-) I want to know if extra halts have been introduced for
trains in Karnataka and AP too.


From: S Pai <Pai>>

Subject: old letter to Times

Date: 04 Nov 1994 00:06:00 -0500

The Times recently reprinted a very old letter to the editor. I didn't find a
date attached to this, but it must be from the late 19th century. I found it
interesting. Note the mention of a 20 mph average speed. What does that make
the "average mph / year" rate of progress, I wonder? :-)



Communication With India

"Russia was the bogeyman of Europe in the last century as in this, yet
in two World Wars it has been our ally."

To the Editor of The Times

Sir, Several proposals have lately appeared in your columns regarding
through railway routes to India, as well as schemes for more rapid
communications. The great objection to all is their insecurity in the event
of war. No treaty guaranteeing the neutrality of any such railways during
war could be depended on, be the contracting parties European or Asiatic
Powers. If the Turks were our Allies, they would, doubtless, do their best
to protect the lines through their country; but, with the almost certainty
of their having Russia as an enemy, they would require the bulk of their
troops in the European direction. A small amount of Russian gold
distributed in Asia Minor would cut up the railways sufficiently to render
them of no use to us in communicating with the East. The Persians, again,
might be neutral; but the chances are strongly in favour of their being on
the Russian side. Whether or no, the tribes along the railway could easily
be bribed to break it up. The Herat and Kurrachee line would not then be
very profitable or useful to us.

Let me recommend another route. I approve that from Constantinople to
Teheran and Herat; thence I would carry the line to Candahar, Cabool, and
Peshawar. The engineering difficulties would not be excessive; the distance
to India less; the political and military advantages would be great; the
trade benefit to India and England too, I believe, would be superior to
that afforded by any of the other lines proposed.

Afghanistan is and must continue our ally. If we had a war with Russia
or any other Power involving operations in Asia, she must be supported and
aided, and her territory held by us if necessary. Supposing the line
through Persia to be closed, we would still be able to pour our resources
into Afghanistan from Upper India, and rapidly and with facility post our
troops on all the strategical points along the North and West of that
country. For such service regiments composed of Sikhs, Punjabees, and
Puthans would form the native portion of our army. Hence my saying Upper
India. They could be more easily put in position by using a railway from
Pesahawar to Herat than by one starting from Kurrachee. But why should such
a railway as is contemplated have its Indian terminus at Kurrachee? It must
be allowed that no railway as regards conveyances of bulky or heavy goods
will supersede ocean carriage. Still less will it be able to compete even,
if it has to run at the rate of 40 miles an hour. The average rate of
Indian railways just now is under 20 miles an hour, including stoppages;
they cannot afford a higher speed.

There are many points remaining for discussion. First, let us hear the
opinions regarding the line through Persia being carried via Herat,
Candahar, and Cabool to Peshawar.

I remain your obedient servant.

Central Asian.

From: S Pai <Pai>>

Subject: news snippets

Date: 04 Nov 1994 00:51:00 -0500

Sixteen coaches of the Deccan Express derailed near Sion late Monday
night. One person died in the derailment. Central Railway suburban
and long-distance services from Bombay were disrupted for most of
Tuesday, apparently.

The cyclonic storm near Madras forced cancellation of some suburban and
a couple of long-distance trains there yesterday (or should that be the
day before).


From: S Pai <Pai>>

Subject: Railway Staff College

Date: 04 Nov 1994 13:08:00 -0500

Arun's guess was correct. We do indeed have someone from the Railway Staff
College at Vadodara on our list now. Mr Harsh Kumar, who sent the message from
there earlier, is in charge of training officers of IR in the Accounts Service.

They (RSC) are connected to the ERNET by low-capacity STD lines from Vadodara
to Bombay, though there is also apparently a connection by the Railways' own
network from NCST at Bombay. They will soon (in the next few weeks) be more
directly connected to the net when they get a better link in place. I hope we
can get some interesting information from people there.


From: venkatar <

Subject: Re: news snippets

Date: 05 Nov 1994 09:15:00 -0500

> The cyclonic storm near Madras forced cancellation of some suburban and
> a couple of long-distance trains there yesterday (or should that be the
> day before).
> -Satish

Once again the Madras-Vijayawada section takes a beating. This has become a
routine occurence.

By the way, I was away for the last few weeks as I had to leave on a short
notice to take up a job in Louisville. I am on the look out for an e-mail
account in Louisville area. Anyone from Univ. of Louisville or that area in
this list?
Satish, please keep them comming to this account till then.

Sridhar Shankar

From: S Pai <Pai>>

Subject: Fw: [Harsh Kumar @ RSC]

Date: 06 Nov 1994 16:04:00 -0500

Here is a message from Harsh Kumar at the Railway Staff College. If you have
any suggestions or information about the things he mentions please do write to
him. I'd suggest that anything railway-related may be posted here to the list,
but other questions etc. may be mailed directly to him or you can send to me
and I'll collect responses and forward them to him.



------- Start of forwarded message -------

From: (PTA & IT)
To: pai
Date: Sun, 06 Nov 94 13:20:28 IST

Dear Mr. S Pai

Happy diwali to you and the group. I have not checked up my mail for
two days. We are having Diwali Holidays.

Let me mention rsc = railway staff college & brc = Vadodara or Baroda
We will be starting training programme for the Commercial Officers of
IR on 07-11-94 for 2 weeks. It would be a pleasure to discuss
suggestions frowarded by your group. Please send suggestions on
1. Marketting and IR
2. IT and IR

Very shortly we will be connecting the whole IR through the rscnet. It
would then be possible to reach any part of the country or any railway
division through us. I see that in very near future we will have networks
within zonal railways and link all these with RSC. I have been able to
set up this E-mail and other facilities and will need your help from time
to time on different matters. Let me ask you some clarifications:

How do we set up a news group?
We plan to have a group india.rail and within it groups like
Marketting, IT, Technology transfer, training etc.
This will keep information on the relevant subjects in classified
manner for easier assess.

Other day in Times of India I read about Dr. KV Rao. He seems to have
set up "India Center Database". He is at State University in Bowling
Green (Ohio). Would it be possible to get his E-Mail address.
Let me mention I have used these facilities earlier but this is my first
experience as system administrator. Please do no loose patience.
It would be a pleasure if there are any questions about railways etc.
I request you to please channelise and regulate these till we have a
TCP/IP connectin with our Internet forwarder in Bombay.
With best wishes.

Harsh Kumar Phone: DOT : 91-265-551873 (O) 91-265-427375 (R)
Professor IT & AT FAX : 91-265-420067; Auto: 5046 (O) 5047 (R)
Railway Staff College, E-Mail:
Vadodara 390 004

------- End of forwarded message -------

From: S Pai <Pai>>

Subject: Kanyakumari Exp. derails

Date: 08 Nov 1994 10:07:00 -0500

I got this from a Deutsche-Press article posted by S Pavithran on the Indian



40 people injured as train derails in India

New Delhi, Nov 6

Forty people were injured Sunday when a passenger train in which they were
travelling jumped a track weakened by flood waters in India, reports said.

The Press Trust of India said the engine and six coaches of the
Madras-bound Kanyakumari Express derailed at Karupparaipatti town in the
Dindigul district of Tamilnadu state.

The agency said the engine driver was warned of a breach in the track by
local people, whereupon the rail authorities asked him to go slow over the
flooded track.

Following official instructions, the driver moved on and reached a point
when he could not see the track. As he applied emergency brakes, the engine
and six coaches derailed.

From: S Pai <Pai>>

Subject: Fw: Ideas for the workshop on 14-11-94

Date: 11 Nov 1994 11:19:00 -0500

Any ideas or suggestions for this?


------- Start of forwarded message -------

From: (PTA & IT)
To: S Pai
Subject: Ideas for the workshop on 14-11-94

Dear Mr. Pai
The workshops on IT and IT and Marketing and IR will start on
14-11-94. I will be thankful if you could kindly consilidate the ideas of
all our group members and forward them to me in one file.


Please send these early.
with best wishes.

Harsh Kumar Phone: DOT : 91-265-551873 (O) 91-265-427375 (R)
Professor IT & AT FAX : 91-265-420067; Auto: 5046 (O) 5047 (R)
Railway Staff College, E-Mail:
Vadodara 390 004

------- End of forwarded message -------

From: S Pai <Pai>>

Subject: Diesels on Nilgiri route

Date: 11 Nov 1994 15:27:00 -0500

This is from the international edition of _The_Statesman_.



Coimbatore, Oct 13. -- The narrow gauge train takes about five hours to
cover 45.9 km at an average speed of 13 km per hour--boring and time-
consuming? Far from it.

Anyone who has travelled by the Nilgiri Mountain Rail from Mettupalyam to
Udhagamandalam, Ooty, any time in the past 90 years will tell you that the
steep journey from [elevations of] 330 m to 2,200 m is a really fascinating

The train climbs an average of 1 m for every 7.35 m. It passes through 208
sharp curves, the sharpest one being of 17.5 degrees; 250 bridges, an
average of six for every km; and 16 tunnels, in an area that gets an average
annual rainfall of around 125 cm, reports PTI.

Started way back in 1899, initially between Mettupalyam and Coonnor before
being extended to Ooty in 1908, the Nilgiri Mountain Rail is one of the
legacies of the British.

But in patronizing the legacy on popular demand, the Railways are really
maintaining a white elephant, says the Southern Railways' Palakkad
Divisional Manager, Mr S Dasarathy.

The Railways are incurring heavy expenditure mainly in operating the steam
locomotive and maintaining the track, Mr Dasarathy adds. But now they are
planning many innovations to accommodate popular demand.

"In our efforts to continue the service, we are trying to cut down the
operational costs and make it a viable proposition", the Divisional Manager

The Railways have now renewed rails and sleepers, inserted more than 10,000
special tie-bars to reinforce the track, and diesel engines are all set to
run again, though only from Coonor to Ooty since there is a strong
preference for the steam engines, he added.

A major advantage of the diesel locomotive is that it can cut down fuel
costs considerably as it uses only 150 litres for a round trip between
Mettupalyam and Ooty, Mr Dasarathy says.

[... He] added that the diesel engine had been reconstructed at the
Railways' Golden Rock workshop at Tiruchirapalli since it was abandoned
after a mishap in 1987.



(Why "the" diesel engine? Was there a special one running on this route
earlier? Is the diesel engine also a rack-and-pinion one?)

From: S Pai <Pai>>

Subject: Privatization : "BOLT"

Date: 11 Nov 1994 22:33:00 -0500

India opens railway projects to private sector

By Narayanan Madhavan

NEW DELHI, Nov 10 (Reuter)

India, establishing a fresh front in its economic reform
programme, said on Thursday it will open up key sections of
its state-owned railway system to the private sector.

The Railway Ministry said in a statement it would offer
private firms the chance to help convert railway gauges,
build bridges, electrify lines and upgrade telecommunications.

Firms will also be able to supply passenger coaches,
freight wagons, containers, metre-gauge and broad-gauge train
sets, rail buses and diesel multiple units.

The railways are being thrown open under a scheme called
BOLT--for "Build-Own-Lease-Transfer"--it said. Under it,
private firms build projects, then eventually transfer
ownership to the state.

"The BOLT scheme has been designed to help the interested
firms and groups, capable of executing these projects on a
turnkey basis, to come forward with their offers," the
statement said.

Entrepreneurs would also be allowed to develop and
maintain railway stations, it said.

The government said it was responding to inquiries
following its liberalised economic policy that invites
large-scale investments in infrastructure projects including
ports, airports, power, telecommunications and road building.

The Railway Ministry has set up a three-member committee
to set guidelines and work out within two weeks the terms and
conditions for the execution of the BOLT schemes, the
statement said.

"This would benefit railways from the healthy competition
which would develop among the bidding firms and groups," it

The Railway Board, strapped for funds to expand its
network and upgrade ageing track and equipment, has been under
pressure from Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao's government
to improve its efficiency and cash flow.

The state-owned Indian Railway Finance Corporation (IRFC),
set up to exclusively fund railway projects, is planning to
launch a Euroissue to raise funds for railway projects.

India's railroads have a route length of 62,486 km (39,053
miles) and assets worth 285 billion rupees ($ 9 billion).

They ran more than 375 billion revenue-earning journeys in
the 1993/94 (April-March) financial year, the government said

From: S Pai <Pai>>

Subject: Special steel tracks for Eastern Railways

Date: 11 Nov 1994 22:37:00 -0500

Tracks for sections with heavy-haul traffic of iron ore and other materials
in the Eastern Railway sector are to have special heat-treated steel rails
phased in. The rails are to be imported from British Steel, and supposedly
last 3-4 times as long as ordinary rails under the demanding conditions in
those sections.


From: S Pai <Pai>>

Subject: general survey article

Date: 11 Nov 1994 22:44:00 -0500

An article from The Financial Times of Nov 8.



"Survey of India" by Jimmy Burns

India's railway system, the world's second largest, straddles the country
like a colossus. Without it, social and economic life would collapse.

The railways represent India's main form of transport, with annual
passenger levels estimated at 3.7bn, and freight traffic, including essential
commodities such as mineral ore, food grain, and fertilisers, totalling 362m
tonnes in the year 1993-94. It is one of the world's largest single employers,
with 1.6m on its staff.

The minister for railways, C K Jaffer Sharief, says that his main
objective is 'to provide an effective, dynamic, cost-effective transport
system which can serve as an engine for economic growth'.

But insuring that the railway system meets the demands of a growing
population and an expanding economy is proving a formidable task for the
state-owned Railways Board, as it looks for fresh ways of financing its
modernisation programme after having its budgetary support savagely cut by the
central government.

A stark illustration of the kind of pressures facing India's rail chiefs
is provided by Delhi's main railway station. Mr Paramjeet Kumar, the station
master, contemplates the whirlpool of humanity which daily builds up on his
platforms, and the gradual encroachment by the slum dwellers who live along
the railway lines. At the height of this autumn's plague scare, passengers with
their faces covered with handkerchiefs stood watching black rats scurrying
over the lines.

'We try and put on more trains every day but we still don't seem to have
enough to deal with the population. We need more stations, more lines, and
greater capacity in our repair yards,' says Mr Kumar.

The backbone of the nationwide modernisation plan is an ambitious
programme of conversion of 6,000 kilometres of track from metre gauge to broad
gauge by 1997, to help meet an expected 25 per cent increase in freight
traffic over the next three years.

The programme represents the biggest single conversion programme carried
out anywhere in the world during this century, and the biggest single project
undertaken by Indian Railways since the first railway service got under way in

India's vast network of metre and narrow gauge lines has been carrying
less freight traffic every year, causing heavy losses. As an alternative to
providing funds for the continuing maintenance of the network, the current
policy is to convert the more important metre gauge routes to broad gauge so
as to introduce alternative routes for freight traffic, and obviating the need
for the construction of new broad gauge lines.

The conversion is aimed at accelerating the turn-around time of wagons,
minimising transhipment bottlenecks, and by so doing improving the overall
operating ratio of the system. It is aimed at overcoming the sense of economic
isolation felt by some parts of India which have been dependant on meter

The gauge conversion will link mineral rich areas of India with production
and consumption centres in other parts of the country. For example, the
Jodhpur-Jaisalmer area of Rajasthan with rich high quality limestone reserves
will be linked by broad gauge route with other parts of India.

As the minister Jaffer Sharief has put it: 'The problem with the railways
is that their line capacity is saturated... With gauge conversion, several
alternative routes will become available leading to increase in line capacity.
This will result in long-haul road traffic reverting to rail.'

Another key plank of the modernisation programme is the introduction of
higher capacity trains and higher horsepower locomotives capable of handling
more tonnage and more passengers in less time.

A controversial and long running debate over whether or not India should
import high-tech locomotives has finally been resolved. Under a contract worth
Dollars 190m , Asea Brown Boveri, the European engineering combine, will
supply next year 33 new generation micro-chip-controlled alternating-current
engines. The contract involves transfer of technology to facilitate the
development and construction of a further 30 similar locomotives in India,
increasing to a production target of 150 by the year 2000.

The controversy surrounding the award of the contract showed that despite
the government's official commitment to economic liberalisation, doing
business in India can still be fraught with problems.

ABB, which has a large Indian affiliate employing 4,000, has been
supplying Indian railways since the 1960s. But members of a government
advisory committee lobbied actively against the award of the contract
ostensibly on cost grounds but with the main intention of promoting India's
own engineering industry.

In its defence, ABB claims that the state-of-the art technology it is
bringing, and which it will hand over to the Indians, has an energy
conservation potential of 35 per cent, lower maintenance cost of up to 40 per
cent, and a higher turnaround that will increase the availability of
locomotives by 50 per cent.

In addition it points out that the introduction of the locomotives will
bring about a matching modernisation of signalling and telecommunications in
and and around India's railway stations. Only 10 per cent of India's railway
stations are currently semiautomated.

Mr Viren Srivastava, a senior executive with ABB, says: 'In India what is
still important is to ensure that trains get to their destinations. We hope to
ensure that. It's better to learn to walk before you can run.' Walking rather
than running also means that the Indian government is unlikely to embark on am
ambitious programme of privatisation. Some free market economists believe
Indian Railways is hugely overstaffed. One estimate is that the railways could
be run more effectively with a third of the current staff.

However, according to senior railway officials such an estimate ignores
the huge political and social costs that the government would encounter were
it to embark on a programme of mass lay offs.

In the current five year plan, which began in the year 1992-93, budgetary
support of Indian Railways has been cut from 75 per cent of capital
requirements to 19 per cent.

Over the last two years, both passenger and freight traffic revenue have
been hit as a result of railway accidents and communal disturbances.

To offset losses the Railway Board is planning to lease or sell some of
its properties, and tighten up on passenger and freight receipts. Meanwhile,
it is extending an olive branch to the private sector while still holding on
to its overall monopoly. Thus the operation of some tourist trains--the
so-called palaces-on-wheels--are being put in private hands, while catering
is being increasingly entrusted to private contractors. The private sector is
also being given greater opportunity to advertise on Indian trains.

Such cosmetic changes may boost revenue, but may fall short of making the
Indian Railways the self-reliant and efficient transport agency its officials
promise. Within the context of India, it is nevertheless near miraculous that
railways function at all.

From: S. Kumar <

Subject: Planned High Speed Lines in North America

Date: 14 Nov 1994 10:32:00 -0500

Thought that this might of interest to irfca members even though it
involves trains in North America. This was published by the High
Speed Rail/Maglev Association. In my opinion much of this may be
wishful thinking, but here goes.


Portland (Maine)-Boston-New York City-Philadelphia-Baltimore-
Washington DC.

Montreal-Burlington (NY)-Albany (NY)-New York City with a loop from
Albany to NYC via Kingston and Stewart Airport.


Washington DC-Richmond (VA)-Greensboro (NC)-Charlotte (NC)-Atlanta

with the following branches;

Richmond-Norfolk (VA); Greensboro-Raleigh (NC);
Charlotte/Atlanta-Columbia (SC); Atlanta-Chattanooga (Tenn);
Atlanta-Birmingham (Ala.); Atlanta-New Airport-Columbus
(GA); Atlanta-New Airport-Macon (GA)-Savannah (GA).


Tallahassee-Jacksonville-Orlando Airport-Orlando-Palm Beach Airport-
Ft. Lauderdale-Miami.

Orlando-Tampa-Ft. Myers

Orlando-Port Canaveral

Eastern Canada:

Quebec-Montreal-Ottawa-Kingston-Toronto-Windsor with a connection to
Detroit at Windsor and to Buffalo at Toronto.


Boston-Albany-Buffalo-Erie (PA)-Cleveland-Toledo (OH)-Chicago with a
loop from Toledo to Chicago via Detroit and Battle Creek (Mich.)

New York City/Philadelphia-Harrisburg (PA)-Pittsburgh-Columbus (OH)-

With the following interconnections;

Washington DC-Pittsburgh-Cleveland
Louiville (KY)-Indianapolis and Louisville-Cincinnati


Chicago-Milwaukee-Madison (WI)-Minneapolis/St. Paul

Chicago-Rockford (Illinois)

Chicago-Quad Cities (Illinois/Iowa)-Iowa City-Des Moines (Iowa)-

Chicago-Springfield (Illinois)-St. Louis-Kansas City-Topeka (KS)

Texas Region:

Tulsa (OK)-Oklahoma City-Dallas-Waco-Bryan/College Station-Houston

Houston-New Orleans (LA)

(Dallas-Waco)-Austin-San Antonio


Denver-Denver Int'l Airport

Denver-Boulder-Ft. Collins

Denver-Colorado Springs-Pueblo


Vancouver (B.C)-Seattle-Tacoma-Portland (Ore.)-Salem (Ore.)-Eugene

Seattle-Moses Lake Airport (Wash.)-Spokane (Wash.)


San Francisco-Sacramento-Reno

San Francisco-San Jose-Fresno-Bakersfield-Los Angeles

Los Angeles-Inland Empire-Las Vegas

(Los Angeles-Inland Empire)-Phoenix-New Phoenix Airport-Tucson

with the following interconnections;


Bakersfield-Inland Empire

and the following branch line;

Los Angeles-Orange County-San Diego


From: R. Alluri <

Subject: Great Railway Journeys - Pakistan Railway

Date: 14 Nov 1994 15:40:00 -0500

Yesterday's episode of Great Railway Journeys was about
the Trip from Karachi to Peshawar by Pakistan Railways. The host
is none other than Mark Tully (yes, the BBC correspondent in

Mark has a fascinating way of effortlessly blending
geography, history, politics, and religion in to a delightful
story. The story of the difficulties in constructing the link to
Quetta on the western border is interesting. The landscape in the
mountain passes is beautiful and awesome.

To the east, the train passes through the arid Sind to
Lahore and Rawalpindi, and onward to the north west to Peshawar
and the mountains again. Islamabad and Rawalpindi are a study in
contrast. The track is being extended upto the Khyber pass to
link up with Afghanistan. Interestingly, the capital, Islamabad
is not linked by rail.

The background music is haunting and conveys a sense of
timelessness of the steam hauled train on an endless journey.
In summary, it is a delightful look at our distant neighbour.