Glass roof, LCDs, freezer: Central Railways gets first Vistadome coach.

With the latest shipment from the Integrated Coach Factory in Chennai, quality of trains in Central Railways has gone up a notch.

The new Vistadome coach is everything Indian Railway coaches are not: adorned with customizable glass roofs and big windows, it will also have automatic doors, 12 hanging LCDs and 40 push-back seats along with a fridge, oven and juicer-grinder.

Talk about luxury!

In context: Indian Railways’ ultra-luxurious Vistadome coaches
05 Sep 2017
Glass roof, LCDs, freezer: Central Railways gets first Vistadome coach


This is the second such coach in Indian Railways; the first, costing Rs. 3.38cr, runs on the 128-km Visakhapatnam-Araku Valley route.

Unique features were the reclining seats that could be rotated 360 degrees as well as the glass roof fitted with electrically-controlled opalescence, both for better sightseeing experience.



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Posted by on September 22, 2017 in Uncategorized



Renewable Target Moves Closer As 750 Indian Railway Stations Receive Solar Boost.

Train stations along one of the most used railway corridors in the world will soon have their dependence on traditional sources of energy loosened thanks to the power of the sun. The 750 stations in north India belonging to Indian Railways, one of the largest railway networks in the world (carrying more than 8 billion passengers annually) has a 25 percent renewable target by 2025. Tropical northern India is blessed with abundant sunlight with 300 sunny days a year, and solar power is a natural alternative to conventional electricity, much of which is generated using coal.

This project will be delivered by ABB India who will provide the solar inverters – the tech that converts the direct current generated by the solar module into alternating current can be used. ABB recently reached a milestone of 5 GW of solar inverters installed, supplying some 40 percent of India’s solar power at approximately 13 GW.

ABB solar inverters for this project vary between 5kW to 50kW in performance depending on the size of the station, part of the ABB Ability of connected solutions, the customer can ensure uptime through remote management services. They will be part of the solar installations being set up by Azure Power. ABB set up its solar inverter manufacturing facility in India in 2012 and contributes to approximately 40 percent of the country’s solar installations. ABB solar inverters have been widely used in the transportation sector, deployed, for instance, in the world’s first fully solar powered airport in Kochi.

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Posted by on September 22, 2017 in Uncategorized


Railways to roll out high-end luxury coaches ‘Anubhuti’ in next few weeks.

Given a choice, most people would choose to take a flight. Not only is it faster, it is simply more luxurious. To give passengers a similar experience, Indian Railways proposed high-end luxury coaches, called Anubhuti in 2013.

Now, four years later, the first of these luxurious coaches is ready to roll out. The coach has a capacity of 56 people and is made at an expense of 3.5 crore each. Ten such coaches are likely to be produced this year. The first one that is almost ready to start its journey will be dispatched to the Western Railways.

One Anubhuti coach is likely to be added to each premium trains, such as the Shatabdi Express.

The fares of these coaches will be more than the standard AC ones. Every seat in the Anubhuti coaches has an LCD attached, along with headphone jacks. There are mobile charging docks, extra foot space, recliner chairs and sensor-enabled modular toilets, as reported by The New Indian Express . Just like airplanes, there are reading lamps, and an indicator to summon coach attendants.

That’s not all; the coaches also have a GPS-linked passenger information system on board. The coaches are lined with anti-graffiti paint, making it easier to be cleaned.
Introducing such high-end coaches into the country’s trains might just be the dawn of a new era of the Indian Railways.

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Posted by on September 18, 2017 in Uncategorized



Govt releases five-point agenda to make Indian Railways free from accidents.

The new Railway Minister Piyush Goyal has ordered an immediate review of safety standards after three train derailments rocked the Indian Railways within a span of 12 hours on September 7.

Taking note of the situation, Railway Minister Piyush Goyal has asked the Railway Board to divert rails marked for construction of new lines to stretches prone to accidents and where replacement was due.
Unmanned level crossings and defects in tracks have been attributed as major causes leading to accidents.

He also directed the board officials to expedite procurement of new rails to complete laying of tracks in pending projects and eliminate unmanned level crossings within a year.

Piyush Goyal held a marathon meeting with members of full Railway Board and Safety Directorate of Railway Board to comprehensively review safety measures for train operations.
In the meeting, the Minister emphasized that the safety is paramount and there cannot & should not be any compromise on this front.
Minister of Railways gave following directions to the Railway Board to ensure safety in train operations:

1) All unmanned level crossings should be eliminated expeditiously on the entire Indian Railway network in a year’s time from now.

2) Track replacement/renewal should be accorded priority and the tracks (rails) earmarked for use for constructing new lines should be diverted to places/ stretches which are prone to accidents and where replacement is due.

3) The procurement of new rails should be expedited on a large scale with a view to complete construction of new lines in time.

4) The manufacturing of conventional ICF design coaches should be stopped forthwith and new design LHB coaches only should be manufactured.

5) Anti-Fog LED lights should be installed in locomotives so that unhindered safe train operations can be ensured during fog season.
Also, in a Twitter post, the Ministry of Railways has shared an image, sharing the five point agenda to make the IR free from accidents.

Railway Minister Chaired a meeting with Railway Board officials & directed them to undertake immediate measures on passengers’ safety.

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Posted by on September 18, 2017 in Uncategorized


Govt kicks off 25% divestment in 5 Railway units with first sale in RVNL

The Centre plans to offload as much as 25-per cent of its stake in the five subsidiary units of the Railways, despite stiff employee opposition to any dilution of stake in entities owned by the national transport network.

The Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (DIPAM) is on the lookout for a registrar to manage a proposed 25 per cent disinvestment in Rail Vikas Nigam Ltd (RVNL) and has invited applications from eligible firms latest by 21 September.

Besides RVNL, the government also approved plans to offload 25 per cent equity each in other Railway subsidiaries, including IRCON International Ltd, Indian Railway Finance Corporation Ltd, Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation Ltd (IRCTC) and RITES Ltd, according to DIPAM officials.

”RVNL is a test case, but 25-per cent stake will be sold in all the five rail PSUs. This will not only ensure better revenues, but also help improve the functioning of the firms and get them more resources,” said an official, adding that it is also to achieve the Sebi-set minimum public holding norm of 25 per cent for listed companies.

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) had in April, approved plans to list the five rail PSUs through a public offer of up to 25-per cent stake following a Budget announcement. However, the ”actual disinvestment of each CPSE along with the mode of raising resources has been delegated for decision on a case-to-case basis to the Alternative Mechanism”.

At present, the centre holds 100 per cent equity each in the five rail PSUS and is keen to offload stakes in at least RVNL and RITES this fiscal, according to DIPAM officials.

The government plans to raise up to R72,500 crore through sale of stake in state-owned enterprises and Rs46,500 crore from sale of minority stakes in some privately-owned units.

Till now, it has raised Rs9,960.12 crore from divestment in PSUs, including NTPC and the sale of a minority stake in L&T through Specified Undertaking of Unit Trust of India.

DIPAM is expected to soon issue requests for proposal for the remaining rail PSUs as well.

The funds are needed for Railways to complete projects on time and to repay funds raised by IRFC.

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Posted by on September 18, 2017 in Uncategorized



In a first, railways set to adopt reverse bidding method for high-value orders.

Under pressure to reduce expenditure, Indian Railways has decided to adopt a reverse bidding process for high-value purchases, a first-of-its kind initiative by the national transporter.

The move is aimed at increasing competition for supplying goods and services to Indian Railways and cutting spending substantially. In reverse auctions, suppliers offering goods and services at the lowest price win the bid.

“The Indian Railways is currently in process of developing a software that would hold a platform for reverse auctioning,” a senior government official said on condition of anonymity. “First we would hold it on a pilot basis and then on a large scale.”

The reverse auction method would initially be used for high-value products include high-end equipment and parts for locomotives, coaches, electrification of railways and so on. The national carrier procures material worth Rs50,000 crore every year.

The move comes at a time when Indian Railways is increasing its capital expenditure (capex). According to a recent Citibank report on the performance of Indian Railways, railway capex increased 60% year-on-year in FY16 and 18% y-o-y in FY17. Physical commissioning of projects has improved sharply. Average commissioning of broad-gauge lines increased 86% in FY16-17 over average commissioning in 2009-14. Electrification of rail lines increased 58% in FY16-17 from the average in 2009-14.

The report also said that Indian Railways has reduced the average project approval duration to six months from an average of 24 months. It has also achieved 100% e-procurement.

“Introduction of e-procurement has helped to bring down corruption, but the ministry feels that still procurement rates are high,” a senior railway ministry official said on condition of anonymity. “So once we switch to reverse auction the competition will increase further and prices would fall leading to decline in our expenditure.”

At present several ministries including the power ministry and public sector undertakings are using the reverse auction to procure supplies at competitive prices, he added.

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Posted by on September 18, 2017 in Uncategorized



The Window Seat Project, a crowd sourced photography series on Instagram, is an ode to train journeys.

A family of eight hold on to newspaper sheets loaded with puris, rice and vegetable curry inside a railway compartment, making one ponder over how much time the women might have spent in the kitchen to prepare the meals for their long journey. In another photograph, a pet dog sitting on the lower berth of a first-class AC coach and covered in white bedsheet, is seen looking into oblivion through the window. A frail old man revels in the company of a book of bedroom jokes, bringing back memories of seeking solace in the company of comics such as Chacha Choudhary, Amar Chitra Katha, Champak and Tinkle, while travelling on the train as children. The Window Seat Project by Shanu Babar is an attempt to recollect all such myriad memories of train journeys, while also serving as a travelogue to capture the essence of India, as seen through the window seat.

What started as a college dissertation project has now turned into a crowdsourced photography series on Instagram and Facebook, where photographs can be submitted under the hashtag of the Window Seat Project (#windowseatproject) and Indian Railways. So far, the project has received over 26,000 entries and garnered more than 23,000 followers. Babar — a cinematographer by profession — says, “While studying at Symbiosis Institute of Media and Communication in Pune in 2015, I wanted my dissertation project to be a travel documentary. So I, along with a few friends, undertook a 10-day train journey from Pune to Kanyakumari, and chronicled the kind of India people saw when they looked out of the window. Most of them discussed issues like education, women empowerment, pollution and the population.”
Among the 926 pictures going viral online, is an image by Manpreet Singh of a line of milk cans hanging from the windows of a train; two coolies laugh and race on the platform against an approaching train in Trivandrum; while in another frame, a cycle is seen tightly roped to the window.

After graduation, as he moved to Mumbai, Babar decided to take the project a notch higher. “I took up a job doing post-production work for films and was expected to mostly sit in a room. Since I couldn’t travel much, I started putting together footage and pictures from my earlier travels on Instagram. It picked up and people started commenting on how it was so nostalgic and they too had stories to share. What started as a personal project soon turned into a travelogue of train lovers online,” says the 26-year-old, who has shot for several TV shows, including So You Think You Can Dance and MasterChef India.

Part-time journalist Divya Dugar’s photographs of her pets, her companions on most of her train journeys, continue to capture eyeballs. “A lot of people do not know about the paperwork involved in taking along a pet with you. We have decided to collaborate and soon post on how to travel with pets on board,” says Babar. “Rise of the Planet of the Apes”appears like an apt caption for a submission by Alex Perret — of a platform overcrowded with monkeys, who are seen gorging on the food left behind by travellers.

This March, Babar once again embarked upon a month-long rail trip, hoping to capture the length and breadth of India, as seen through the windows of multiple trains. A food-borne disease forced him to halt it midway on the 13th day but he hopes to resume his trip, and also undertake train journeys overseas. But Babar says he feels proud of the fact that he has recorded his “Chaiyya chaiyya moment”, sitting atop a train much like Shah Rukh Khan did in Dil Se, when he boarded the Gwalior Light Railways via the Gwalior-Sheopur railway line. His fellow passengers — farmers armed with rifles, vendors selling peanuts who moved swiftly from the engine to the bogie, and singers — are also part of the moment.

The photograph of an old man smiling and peeking into the tinted glass window of a train, perhaps looking out for his family members, is an ode to railway-station goodbyes. “These are pictures anyone who has travelled on a train, can relate to. Someone or the other, be it loved ones, friends or relatives need to see you from the window to bid their final goodbye,” adds Babar.

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Posted by on September 18, 2017 in Uncategorized