IRFCA Mailing List Archive

Messages 1821 - 1840

From: Kandaswami, Auroprem* <Kandaswami#m#_Auroprem*

Subject: Exhibition trains for Independence fete

Date: 28 Jul 1997 05:27:00 -0500

The Hindu
NEW DELHI, July 27.

The Railways plan to commemorate the Golden
Jubilee of Independence by introducing special trains
and attempting to improve passenger amenities.
While the four long distance trains will be those
announced by the Union Railway Minister while
presenting the Budget, the effort to upgrade
amenities, a sore point with passengers, will cover a
wide range of fronts and will be on an experimental
basis in a few trains to start with.

The Railways are also contributing to the celebrations
programme by running two exhibition specials across
the country - from south to north and west to east.
These trains will be flagged off from Porbander and
Kanyakumari by the Prime Minister and reach Delhi
simultaneously on January 26 next year.

They will eventually terminate at Lekhapani and
Jammu Tawi, respectively, while stopping enroute to
depict the various facets of the freedom struggle.

The additional facilities include increasing the speed
of select trains and more air-conditioned coaches of all
types in 32 trains. Catering is also sought to be
improved in a phased manner.

In this respect, the nine zonal railways have been
asked to adopt one long distance train each and
provide the kind of services available in the Rajdhanis
and Shatabdis.

Bisleri jars of clean water connected to chillers will also
be provided in a few AC as well as sleeper coaches. In
other not-so- prestigious trains, travelling ``watermen''
will be provided. ``By and large, these will be
augmenting the existing sources of supply,'' stated the
Railway Board' Member (Traffic), Mr. Shanti Narain.

The attempt by the Railways to put its best step
forward closely follows mortification at the hands of
the unprecedented summer rush of people who could
not be satisfactorily accommodated. ``We are hoping
the experiments succeed so that these are extended to
other trains,'' Mr. Narain added.

A new time table to be effective from August will
feature 22 new trains, increase in frequency of four and
extension in running of 14 pairs of trains. The only
doubt pertains to the routing of Trivandrum Rajdhani
Express through Konkan railway as small stretches of
the hilly terrain are proving troublesome to construct.

The other trains have either been introduced or are
due to be provided during the current fiscal. The time
table features a special cover design with the Golden
Jubilee logo which incidentally was badly misprinted
by one of its zones. It strives to be user friendly by a
special colouring scheme to enable users easily
distinguish the faster trains.

From: K. Sivakumar <

Subject: Train in India speeds past signal at 70 mph, rear-ending

Date: 28 Jul 1997 13:59:00 -0500

[Globe Archives] [Boston Globe Online / Latest News]
Train in India speeds past signal at 70 mph, rear-ending
another; 12 dead

Associated Press, 07/28/97 06:25

FARIDABAD, India (AP) - A packed express train hurtled
past a stop signal and rammed a passenger train pulling
out of a station near New Delhi, killing at least 12
people and injuring nearly 100, railway officials said

The New Delhi-bound Karnataka Express was moving at 70
mph when it slammed into the rear of the Himsagar Express
late Sunday in Faridabad, 20 miles east of New Delhi.
More than 1,500 passengers were aboard both trains, most
were sleeping when the crash occurred. l online features]

The track was littered today with smashed suitcases,
shoes and bed linens. Two coaches on Karnatka Express
looked like crumpled shoe boxes. Another luggage coach
was demolished, and both engines derailed.

``Obviously, the driver of the Karnataka Express ignored
a stop signal. It's human failure,'' said S.A. Zaidi, a
senior manager of the state-owned railway.

Full details, however, would be known only after
officials spoke to the driver of the Karnataka Express,
who was hospitalized with a broken arm, Zaidi said.

The Himsagar Express was running 12 hours behind
schedule, railroad officials said. The Karnataka Express
was not scheduled to stop in Faridabad, but track signals
were red because the delayed train was in its path.
Three of the rear coaches of the Himsagar Express, which
was traveling from India's southern tip to Jammu in the
north, were thrown off the track.

``I woke up to find the luggage in the coach tumbling.
Before I knew it, the train had toppled to the right,''
said Peter Paul, a 35-year-old passenger, still dazed
more than six hours after the collision.
Eleven passengers died instantly, and one died later in
the hospital. Of the injured, 50 were in a serious
condition, Press Trust of India news agency said. The
injured were rushed to hospitals in Faridabad and New

``Hereafter I will never feel safe anymore on trains,''
said S. Roberts, who makes the three-day journey from
northern Punjab state where he works, to his southern
home state Kerala once a year.

Two years ago, about 300 people were killed when a
passenger train rear-ended another train that had stopped
after hitting a cow in northern India.

From: Larry Russell <

Subject: New Indian Railways diesels

Date: 30 Jul 1997 17:00:00 -0500

Found our yesterday that the new order of GM diesels for IR in now under
construction at London Ontario (Canada). Delivery should begin within the
month. I would presume the first one would go straight to Varanasi for
testing and acceptance and as the prototype for subsequent production.

From: Prakash Tendulkar <

Subject: Railway News

Date: 31 Jul 1997 05:00:00 -0500

Jinxed Goan sector derails Konkan dream
G R Singbal (Indian Express)

PANAJI, July 30: For its supporters, the Konkan railway project means
a boon for the Goan and Konkan economy. But its opponents at least in
Goa have been trying to project it as a curse. Whether it is really a
``boon'' or a ``bane'' will be decided when the project makes a
start. Indeed, the big question is: When will this project become
fully operational?

After revising commissioning dates eight times during last two years,
the authorities have given up making any announcements setting fresh
dates. As things stand, the 7660 km line linking Mangalore with Mumbai
is complete. It is the 105 km track in the Goa sector that is coming
in the way of making this project fully operational.Bad luck dogged
the controversy-hit rail route in the Goa sector from the start. To
begin with, there was prolonged agitation over the coastal alignment
which led to the suspension of the work for over nine months.

After the work started in full swing, there were problems of sinking
bankments and tunnels collapsing with alarming regularity which
delayed the work. Now even as the work is in final stages of
completion, rains are playing havoc in the completed sections of the
track. During the last few weeks, major landslides occurred in three
places of Mashem, Bali and Sirigae, burying large portions of the
track under the debris, and raising questions of safety of railway
operations once the trains start moving.

Due to land slippages at Mashem, the newly introduced passenger
service from Mangalore to Canacona remains suspended for the last
three weeks. The planned inauguration of Mangalore-Margao section may
also have to wait. The section between Sawantwadi and Ratnagiri is
having similar problems leading to suspension of services in that

During his visit to Goa for the inauguration of the Margao railway
overbridge, Union Minister of Railways Ram Vilas Paswan said that he
was hoping to get the ``missing link'' from Canacona to Pornem ready
soon, and expected the first train to roll on August 15. When the KRC
got down to business on October 10, 1990, the authorities promised
that the line would be built in four years. Today in the seventh year
of construction, there is still no light at the end of the tunnel in
Pornem, which along with the old Goa tunnel made maximum demands on
KRCB. ============================ CR, WR time-table adds no new
train services

July 30: Central and Western Railways have nothing new to offer to
suburban railway passengers. In the latest time table slated to hit
the stands soon, no services have been added in either sections,
except for a few changes in timings of some trains.

While the WR has will operate its Goregaon-Churchgate local on Sundays
also, the CR has tried to "rationalise" its peak hour services. For
daily commuters from Thane, the rationalisation will bring a dedicated
CST local at a frequency of five minutes, especially during three peak
hours beginning 7.45 am. This, according to a spokesperson, will also
increase the railways' punctuality standards.

The spokesperson further informed that for the three peak hours in the
morning and three in the evening, passengers to Thane will have a
train service every five minutes and will include the 9-car and the
12-car services, fast and slow services.

Similar system will also be tried on the Harbour section with trains
leaving from main stations like Khandeshwar, Belapur, Vashi among
others at a fixed frequency for stations like Bandra, Andheri and
CST. However, such services will not be made available to the
passengers who travel from beyond Thane for the time being, the
official said. On the WR, due to the change in the Golden Temple mail
departure schedule, timings of four locals have been changed to make
way for the express train without being delayed.

Addressing newsmen on Wednesday afternoon, N Krithivasan, General
Manager, WR, said they intend adding three new 12-car rakes by the end
of September this year. This will increase the number of existing
12-car services to 180 per day.

PMO approached for date of MRTS inauguration

CHENNAI, July 29: The Southern Railway has written to the Prime
Minister's Office (PMO) requesting a suitable date for the
inauguration of the Chepauk-Thiru Mayilai section of the Mass Rapid
Transit System in the city. An earlier plan to do so on April 14 this
year had to be cancelled owing to the political situation at Delhi.
The PM is likely to visit the city in August when he would flag off
the MRTS. Meanwhile, construction work in the stations on this line
are yet to be completed though the basic facilities such as toilets,
ticket counters and rest sheds have been provided.

From: Kandaswami, Auroprem* <Kandaswami#m#_Auroprem*

Subject: Railways close another chapter ?

Date: 31 Jul 1997 05:24:00 -0500

The Hindu
NEW DELHI, July 30.

Another chance for Rlys. to close a chapter?

The death of the Karnataka Express driver has given
the railways yet another opportunity to close a chapter
which speaks volumes for managerial failure at all
levels. So far, officials are trying to absolve anyone else
from the blame by privately putting forth three
versions - that the driver was drunk, he was a goods
train driver and unfamiliar with the section.

``The responsibility should have travelled upwards,''
said a senior railway official while expressing the fear
that the driver's death would help them gloss over
their failure to adhere to safety regulations that have
been enshrined in the safety manual for decades. The
accident will again throw up three crucial factors
relating to selection of drivers - their screening at
regular intervals, being forced to run on unfamiliar
routes and changeover from goods to passenger
trains.Internal studies have pointed out that a large
number of drivers are not adequately trained. After
the collision rate goes up, crash courses are arranged
but it is back to square one after the memory of the
mishaps fades away.

For instance, drivers were intensively screened in 1995
after two accidents claimed over 400 lives. The result
was that nearly one- fourth - 3,400 out of 16,000 - did not
have adequate knowledge about safety measures.
Special attention was directed to be paid to ``C'' grade
drivers (of whom the dead driver Ellis was one) by
screening them once a year. But this was soon
forgotten and senior officials say reports from the
zones on this aspect are now sporadic.

There will perhaps be no attempt to explain why a
driver from the Western Railway zone was forced to
run on a Central Railway route with which he was
obviously unfamiliar. Or, whether, he had been
certified fit to run passenger trains. This is because the
inquiry will focus only on the cause of the accident and
not the underlying reasons that played a major role in
the collision. In normal course, drivers are generally
put through ``road learning'' on new routes to establish
``mental markers.'' To put it simply, drivers are made
to go through a route repeatedly. This allows them to
fix certain informal sign posts such as trees, level
crossings or buildings for two eventualities. After
passing one of the markers, they know the signal
should be sighted soon and after passing the second
they begin applying brakes.

The Railway Minister, Mr. Ram Vilas Paswan was
partly right in stating that it did not make a difference
whether the driver was specialised in operating goods
trains or express trains. This is because goods trains
have trailing loads varying from 1,000 tonnes to 4,000
tonnes. Therefore goods drivers have excellent
judgment about braking but the braking technique is
different for passenger trains and goods drivers are
not always able to brake late and accurately at high

It would have been doubly difficult for Ellis who was a
goods driver running a 400 tonne load super fast
express on an unfamiliar route (where he had no
mental markers) to brake accurately enough to stop
the express train just before every signal. In a number
of similar cases, such drivers have emerged unscathed
along with their passenger load after overshooting a
signal because there was no train just ahead. However,
on this oversaturated route where the load had
increased due to diversions, there was no scope for a
mistake which Ellis apparently committed because of
inadequate supervision.

Officers were discounting the suggestion that Ellis was
so inebriated to miss the signal altogether. It is
wellknown in Railway circles that quite a few drivers
fortify themselves with liquor before turning up at the
reporting room for duty.

But it is only very rarely that they carry liquor on the
foot- plate (the engine cab). In this case Ellis had been
on duty for more than five hours and it is highly
improbable that he was constantly drinking.

Even in such a case, it is not the driver's job alone to
look out for signals. The assistant driver also
simultaneously looks for the signal and confirms it
verbally with the driver who being on the right side
sights the signal fractionally later. Besides, the
assistant driver is usually experienced enough to take
over the functions and stop the train immediately.

From: Auroprem Kandaswami <

Subject: KRC's race against nature and time

Date: 31 Jul 1997 13:16:00 -0500

Konkan railway work bogged down by rain

PANAJI, July 31 (DHNS)

Hillslides, caused by heavy torrential rains here June end, have
become the bane of the Konkan Railway Corporation (KRC) which
is keen to see the railway line through by a new October-November

For almost a month now, KRC contractors have been preoccupied
with clearing the newly-laid tracks of mounds of earth and boulders
at two spots, one in North, and the other at South Goa.

In Mayem, Bicholim taluka, an eight-metre high retaining trough
gave way under the pressure of gushing waters and soaked earth,
causing an entire hillside to collapse and deposit debris on 400
metres of railway line below.

The KRC had cut upto a height of 26 metres on this hill to make way
for the rail route. The hillside came down when the monsoon was at
its worst here in June. But there is a suspicion that mounds of
mining rejects, from an iron ore screening plant close by, dumped
on top of the Mayem hill may have added to the calamity.

KRC Advisor S V Salelkar told Deccan Herald today that he was
hopeful that work on clearing the tracks both at Mayem and
Mashem, Canacona taluka, close to the Karnataka border, where
another landslide ocurred last month, would be completed within a

''The rains have been ungenerous to us in Goa this year, particularly
in South Goa,`` the KRC spokesman added.

A tentative deadline has been set for August 22, for Railways
Minister Ram Vilas Paswan to inaugurate the new diesel rail car
service between Canacona and Pernem in Goa.

The KRC recently completed the laying of tracks on this route. All
that remains now is the challenging tunnel at Pernem, North Goa.
While 90 metres of this tunnel have been exposed, the remaining
150 metres will prove a challenge to the KRC`s race against time.

From: Auroprem Kandaswami <

Subject: 100 killed in train accidents this year: Paswan

Date: 01 Aug 1997 05:11:00 -0500

The Hindu
NEW DELHI, July 31.

As many as 100 people have been killed in 220
consequential train accidents during the first seven
months of the current year, Parliament was informed
today. These include the 13 who died in the Faridabad
collision last Sunday.

The damage to railway property and assets has been
estimated at Rs. 17.22 crores, said the Railway
Minister, Mr. Ram Vilas Paswan, while replying to a
question by Mr. Devibux Singh and Dr. Ramesh
Chand Tomar. This is apart from the compensation
paid by the Railways and insurance companies.

Although the South Eastern Railway accounted for the
largest number of accidents (44), the highest number
of people (22) were killed in the South Central
followed by the Central Railway (20). The second
highest number of accidents (27) took place on the
Southern Railway, but only one life was lost, the Lok
Sabha was informed.

From: Auroprem Kandaswami <

Subject: Crude Bomb explodes near Malur

Date: 04 Aug 1997 13:13:00 -0500

Crude bomb believed to have triggered off the explosion


Nineteen passengers were injured when an explosion ripped through
a compartment of the Madurai- Bangalore Express train at Tykal
railway station near Malur this morning.

Witnesses said that the explosion was triggered off by a crude bomb
which was being carried in the general compartment (8362) by a

However, the police are yet to confirm the exact cause.

DISRUPTED: The mishap disrupted train services on Kolar-
Bangalore section for several hours.

The explosion ripped through the last-but-one bogie of the train at
about 6.3 am. The passengers were rudely awakened by the
shattering glass panes.

Sixteen of the injured were admitted to Kolar civil hospital, while
three others were administered first aid and discharged.

The train was to arrive at the Bangalore City railway station at around
7.30 am.

Additional Director-General of Police (Law and Order) T Madiyal
said preliminary investigation revealed that the crude explosive
material which was being transported in the compartment may have
exploded causing the mishap.

ACCIDENT: ''The intensity of the explosion was not very high to
cause extensive damage,`` he said. The blast appeared to be an
accidental explosion, he added.

However, railway sources said the crude material, which had
apparently triggered off the blast, could have been gunpowder
meant for quarrying activities.

The person, who was carrying the material, has failed to own up
fearing action for transporting prohibited items on the train, the
sources added.

Four window panes had been smashed and a portion of the wooden
roof of the carriage was torn apart due to the impact of the blast.

Mr Madiyal, the Additional Divisional Railway Manager, Divisional
Safety Officer, and medical staff rushed to the spot.

According to Railway officials, the train had stopped at Tykal railway
station around 6.30 am, when there was a minor explosion. A railway
officer who was on the train for scheduled inspection, immediately
went to the coach and later alerted the divisional control, civil and
police authorities.

NO MAJOR DAMAGE: Railway officials stated that the coach did
not suffer any major damage due to explosion. After forensic experts`
investigation and technical staff`s clearance, the train left for
Bangalore at 11.33 am. The cause of the explosion is still under
investigation, they said.

A passenger on the train, Mr Prabhudas, who is a railway employee,
rendered first aid to the affected passengers by collecting the first aid
box from the guard of the train immediately after the explosion.

An ex-gratia amount of Rs.500 each was sanctioned to all injured
passengers by the railways.

LIST OF INJURED: Geeta and Dhanalakhsmi (both from Erode),
K Karunakaran, A Dinakaran, D Selvakumar, M Ashok Kumar, G
Baba, K Arun, K R Prasad (all from KGF), Venkatesh (KSRP,
Bangalore), A S Suresh (Bangarpet), K N Ramachandra (Bangalore),
P Uday Kumar, Thyagaraj, Ganesh Babu, and M Devan.

Police suspect that one of the passengers who sustained simple
injuries and got discharged after taking first aid treatment might
have carried the crude explosive material.

The Cantonment Railway police have registered a case and are

From: Auroprem Kandaswami <

Subject: CR clarifies on break of journey

Date: 06 Aug 1997 08:26:00 -0500

06 August 1997

MUMBAI: The Central Railway (CR) has been
forced to issue a clarification that season ticket
holders of suburban and non-suburban
sections are free to travel from and to any
station between the starting and destination
stations printed on the ticket.

The clarification has come in the wake of
confusion created by a rule printed on page 124
of the new timetable stating that break of
journey was not permitted on season tickets. Till
this timetable came into effect on August 1,
break of journey was not allowed only on single
journey tickets.

Commuters, people's representatives and
passenger associations had expressed shock
over the rule. It was learnt that the rule was
added in the timetable after an order from the
railway board office in Delhi. Commuters
wondered how no officer who read the matter to
be published in the timetable realised that this
rule was confusing.

The Citizens' Front has suggested that the CR
should make continuous announcements
clarifying the rule. ``Everyone does not read the
newspapers. Hence, announcement is a better
way to ensure that passengers are not harassed
by train ticket examiners,'' a Front
representative said.

The Mumbai Suburban Passengers'
Association also demanded the withdrawal of
the timetable which created a confusion. ``If
this timetable remains in use in future, TTEs
may misuse the rule with innocent passengers,
who may not read the clarification. If the CR has
made a mistake, it better rectify it properly,'' the
association said.

From: K. Sivakumar <

Subject: Bomb-blast derails Rajdhani, 400 passengers escape bid

Date: 11 Aug 1997 07:58:00 -0500

NEW DELHI: A powerful remote-controlled bomb which was
detonated by terrorists on railway tracks derailed the
Guwahati-Delhi Rajdhani Express this morning. Seven bogies
were derailed and the blast left about 40 passengers
injured. Fortunately, the derailment has not caused any
deaths. According to latest reports reaching here, the bomb
was detonated by remote control devices as parts of the
equipment were found in the vicinity. Investigations are
even while railway officials have swooped down the area to
make an inquiry.

As a result of the bomb blast most of the eastern sector
been cut off from the rest of the country. All trains
to and from the eastern region have been cancelled. The
railway spokesman has given the Maligaon telephone number
570160 for any passenger enquiries.

(Indian Express)

From: siva <

Subject: Mumbai train commuters set local train on fire,

Date: 11 Aug 1997 11:14:00 -0500

> Mumbai train commuters set local train on fire,
> situation tense but normal
> MUMBAI: Commuters burnt a local train about 50 kms away
> from
> here at Mumbra in the afternoon after having stopped
> services since morning. The commuters have been
> protesting
> against the new timetable and overcrowding in the local
> trains for the last one week.
> Five bogies were burnt completely and many signalling
> equipment and railway property were damaged in the
> riots
> that followed. This is the fourth time that the
> commuters
> brought the city transport services to a halt by rail
> roko
> (squatting on rail tracks at various stations) in the
> last
> one week. The station masters had also called for a
> strike
> today which added to the melee. Most of the
> office-going
> crowd was held up and office attendance was also
> affected.
> Central Railway spokesman said that efforts to restore
> services were on.

<A HREF=""></A>

From: Steven Brown <

Subject: Re: Web-site update, Timetable Question...

Date: 14 Aug 1997 13:36:00 -0500

I have updated my website to include some excellent photos of the Delhi
railway museum. <A HREF=""></A>

I would like to include more timetable information, does anyone know how
to get IR timetables in an electronic form? Perhaps a database format.
It is hard to know how to start such an inquiry from here in the US.

I have recieved a significant amount of E-mail asking for timetable
information so I have included links to the sites that have some of this
information, however this information is very incomplete and perhaps out
of date as well with the introduction of the new timetable.

Any information or leads appreciated!

Also I have recently aquired some DEC VAX equipment, The equipment
includes a Dec 6000-340 14 RA-92 drives, 8 RA-90 drives, 2 sets RA70
drives and 2 DecServer 500 network devices. This equipment does not have
a lot of value here in the US, but is very similar to the equipment used
in the IR ticketing system.

Again Any contact information in IR appreciated.

From: Anne O. <

Subject: Re: Web-site update, Timetable Question...

Date: 18 Aug 1997 13:56:00 -0500

Steve -

I have dealt with this system on my job. I used to work for Apple,
where I worked on the Indian Language Kit. The system the IR uses is
some big commercial database running ISCII-83, a standard for displaying
In 1991 they updated the system to ISCII-91, and that's what we used.
There are some differences in encoding, but not in glyph set, so it
should be do-able if you can find the raw data.
I don't know of a common standard for the Windows world, but in the
Mac world we've put up any amount of ISCII using the Indian Language
Kit. I know there's a grad student making web pages out of some of the
vedas out there.
I don't know how much work you're willing to do, but I have contacts
in CDAC who helped with the IR system if you're serious.

On other subjects, the pictures of the New Delhi RR Museum are great.
I'd just finished converting a 1979 NMRA Bulletin article about the
museum to web pages. Do you want it?

From: Auroprem Kandaswami <

Subject: Paswan to open new Konkan Rly section on Aug

Date: 20 Aug 1997 11:29:00 -0500

PANAJI, Aug 20 (UNI)

Union Railway Minister Ram Vilas Paswan will inaugurate the old
Goa-Karmali-Canacona section of the Konkan Railway at the old
Goa (Karmali) station on August 24.

The first diesel rail car will be flagged off by Goa Chief Minister
Pratapsingh Rane, according to the KRC authorities here.

The inaugural run of Margao- Mangalore Express is also scheduled to be
flagged off by the railway minister at another function at Margao to be
held on the same day.

The local train on the newly converted Collem- Vasco Da Gama
sector of the South Central Railway will also be inaugurated by Mr Rane.

From: Auroprem Kandaswami <

Subject: `Luxury trips at lightning speed'

Date: 21 Aug 1997 05:11:00 -0500

When Indian railways took you on `luxury trips at lightning speed'

August 21, 1997

``If I were at the head of the railway administration,
I would advise the railway management to tell the public
unless they purchased tickets, trains would be stopped
and they
would resume journey only if the passengers willingly
paid the
fares due.'' This was a pre-independence announcement
by none other than Mahatma Gandhi. A visit to an
which is on till Friday at Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus
will take you on a journey of the history of the railways
in India
and the freedom struggle.

The exhibition, a collection of photographs based on
glass negatives from the archives of the erstwhile Great
Peninsular (GIP) railway, is a wide kaleidoscope of the
of the railways. It informs the visitor that the first
Vasudev Balwant Phadke, was a GIP employee from 1860 and
started the rebellion against the British rule in the

The exhibition, organised by Central Railway, has several

pictures of CST, also known as Bori Bunder and Victoria
Terminus (or VT). It was the gateway for leaders of the
struggle, who commenced and ended their journeys from
Mumbai. It gained importance in 1942 when following the
India call, the arrested leaders were taken to Pune and
thousands of supporters thronged the station, as the

The exhibition has a collection of postal stamps on the
dating back to 1953. Some of the fascinating stamps are
locomotives. These stamps are from the collection of a CR

employee, Manohar Athavale.

Pictures of the old Colaba station, VT under
construction, the
first electric multiple unit, the Deccan Queen winding
its way
through the Khandala ghats, and the Punjab Mail (known as

the Punjab Limited Express in 1915) give an insight into
India of `those times'.

Another interesting feature of the exhibition is a
display of old
advertisements. One proclaims, `For luxury trips at
speed, you want the GIP', while another coaxes readers
travel by GIP for real comfort and efficient service'.
Yet another
ad, published after the Deccan Queen changed its timings,
`The stately Deccan Queen now reaches Poona in 2 hours,
minutes, compared to the old time of four hours.'

The railways may reintroduce the two standard tours they
as some have noted in the visitors' book. One tour took
passengers from Calcutta to Bombay (Mumbai) via
Benares (Varanasi), Lucknow, Cawnpore (Kanpur), Agra,
Delhi, Lahore, Amritsar, Peshawar, Jaipur and Udaipur.
first class ticket for this four-week tour was Rs 331 and
servants-III class ticket was a mere Rs 55.

The exhibition has been receiving a good response, going
by the
enthusiastic reactions in the visitors' book. Some have
said the
exhibition is good for the new generation, others have
suggested to the railways to hold it on a bigger scale.
But one
said it all: ``We are now enjoying the fruits of our

From: Sridhar Shankar <


Date: 22 Aug 1997 10:56:00 -0500

'Threat' to a unique railway line

By Our Staff Reporter


The reported move, albeit on the quiet, by the Railway
Ministry to
dismantle the Nilgiris Mountain Railway (NMR) line
Mettupalayam and Udhagamandalam has evoked widespread
among people of the Nilgiris district, for whom the
quaint mountain train
has become part and parcel of their lives.

While, according to reliable sources, the proposal to
close down the line
has emanated from its ``uneconomic working'' and
financial constraints
standing in the way of the Railway Ministry investing
about Rs. 100 crores
for providing new engines, the people here are irked
over the Railway
Ministry's vacillation, vis-a-vis the NMR, the frequent
assurances by those
at the helm of affairs that the line will not be closed
down on any account,

Making out a strong case for retention of this railway
system which is an
engineering marvel, a septuagenarian citizen of this
hill station, recalled that
about 26 years ago, when a similar proposal was in the
air, the Deputy
Minister for Railways, Mr. Mohammed Qureshi, while on
an official visit to
Ooty had assured the people of the Nilgiris that the
Union Government
``would bury the proposal 1000 fathoms deep and see
that it did not
surface again, because on the face of it, it was absurd
and nonsensical.''

Adverting to the basis for the apprehension that the
line would be done
away with, he wondered how the proposal could keep
surfacing, even
after such a categorical assurance had been given by
Mr. Qureshi.

Recently Mr. Satpal Maharaj, Minister of State for
Railways, had
unambiguously declared that services on the
Mettupalayam sector would be streamlined and new

Some people here said that if the proposal to
``sacrifice'' this unique line,
which occupies a vital position in the slender economy
of the Nilgiris
district, on economic grounds, is implemented, it would
upset the economy
and the consequences would be catastrophic. Pointing
out that travel
writers from various parts of the globe, had been
unanimous in their view
that the NMR is one of the biggest tourist attractions
in this part of the
country, they said that everyone knew that closure of
this railway system
means the ``death of the Nilgiris district''. The
centenary of the Coonoor
Railway station is being celebrated this year.

When even a few days' closure of the NMR during
extremely wet
conditions, turns out to be a big disappointment for
the peregrinators, a
permanent closure would tantamount to composing an
elegy for the
``Queen of Hill Stations,'' many averred. It has played
a vital role in
transporting practically the entire Government
machinery when Ooty was
the summer capital of the then Madras Government during
pre-Independence days. It has figured as the ``Marabar
Express'' in David
Lean's celluloid version of E. M. Forster's ``A Passage
to India.'' And it
has been featured in innumerable Indian films. It has
significantly to the economic wellcbeing of the hill
station for nearly a
century and it has immensely benefited the business
community. As no
holiday in the Blue Mountains is complete without a
ride in the ``Toy train''
of the NMR, any inexplicable move by Railways in
relation to the NMR is
viewed with suspicion.

Mr. S. R. Balasubramaniam, Union Minister of State for
Personnel, Public
Grievances and Pensions, who represents the Nilgiris
Constituency, has in a recent communication to Mr. Ram
Vilas Paswan,
Union Minister for Railways, expressed concern over the
proposal to close down the line.

Stating that the special type of railway system in the
mountainous area was
unique in many aspects, he pointed out that it served
as the basic lifeline
support to more than 600 railway employees and
thousands of vendors,
traders, businessmen and others who were dependent on
it. Referring to
the apprehensions regarding the future of the line
expressed by people
from different walks of life in the Nilgiris and
representatives of various
railway unions, he emphasised the paramount need to
keep the line going.

From: Auroprem Kandaswami <

Subject: Swarnajayanti express to run upto Mysore

Date: 28 Aug 1997 04:25:00 -0500

BANGALORE, Aug. 26: The Bangalore-Nizamuddin
Swarnajayathi Express train recently inaugurated by Railway
Minister Ram Vilas Paswan will extend its services to Mysore
from September 1.

From: Anne O. <

Subject: Headed to India

Date: 28 Aug 1997 09:46:00 -0500

I'm off to stay in Delhi & Ahmedabad for a few months. Can anybody on
this list recommend good train watching sites in these two cities?


From: Rangachari Anand <

Subject: Re: Headed to India

Date: 28 Aug 1997 15:51:00 -0500

Probably the best location for train watching (from my experience of 12 years
is Tilak Bridge station. This station is a few km south of New Delhi station
and is
easy to get to. You can see a large number of trains passing through (both to
East as well as to the South).

Another good way to see the railway facilities around Delhi is to take the ring
railway. (Is this still running?) A long time back, there used to be a diesel
that pulled a few coaches around the bit loop of the city. It was a cheap way
to go for a (railway oriented) sightseeing tour.

R. Anand

From: S Pai <

Subject: Re: Headed to India

Date: 28 Aug 1997 16:06:00 -0500

> I'm off to stay in Delhi & Ahmedabad for a few months. Can anybody on
> this list recommend good train watching sites in these two cities?

The Old Delhi station might have some interesting sights. There's also a
railway museum in Delhi. (Unfortunately, the days of the steam-drawn
hourly Palwal shuttle from New Delhi are long gone -- those were some great
steam locos.)

If you can manage a trip out to Baroda too, you should be able to see lots of
meter-gauge (narrow too?) trains -- there's an extensive network around
there, much of it still in use.