Tag Archives: railway infrastructure

India’s longest rail-cum-road bridge on Brahmaputra to be ready by June 2017

India’s longest rail-cum-road bridge, the Bogibeel bridge on the Brahmaputra river in upper Assam, will be commissioned in June 2017, an official of the Northeast Frontier Railway said here on Wednesday. Announcing the successful launch of the twelfth girder of the bridge, the NF Railway official said construction of the 4.950 km bridge was going on as per schedule.

“Altogether 2100 persons including engineers, welders and other workmen are at work to complete the bridge within the stipulated period,” he said. The bridge that will connect Dibrugarh on the south with Dhemaji on the north, will have 39 girders of 125 meter and 2 girders of 33 meter span, and will be the fourth across the Brahmaputra. “It will also be India’s longest road-cum-rail bridge,” the official said. While all the girders are likely to be completed by March 2017, it would take a few months more for final commissioning of the bridge, the official informed.

The earlier three bridges are located in Guwahati, between Kaliabor and Tezpur and between Goalpara and Jogighopa. While two of them are rail-cum-road bridges, the Kaliabor-Tezpur one is a road bridge. A fifth bridge, a road bridge, that is also under an advanced stage of completion will connect Saikhowa with Sadiya in Tinsukia district, further upstream of Bogibeel.

These two bridges will also facilitate better communication for eastern Arunachal Pradesh. Being built at a cost of around Rs. 5000 crores, the Bogibeel bridge incorporates, apart from the main bridge, a guide bund each on the north and south banks, several dykes , a road network of 30 kms, a railway network of 74 kms and six new railway stations.

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Posted by on October 18, 2015 in Uncategorized


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Station Development Project to Attract 20 Billion USD: Suresh Prabhu

Aiming at massive influx of funds in the coming months, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu today said the proposed station development project will attract about 20 billion USD in phases.

He said discussions are being held with World Bank for creating a fund of 30 billion USD to fund key rail infrastructure projects.

“I had discussion with World Bank MD Srimulyani Indirawati last week over possibility of creating 30 billion USD fund for infrastructure projects,” Prabhu said at the CII function here.

He, however, declined to share the details of the proposed fund saying “the modalities are being worked out and will be announced later.”

Railways has undertaken an ambitious scheme for development of 400 stations across the country.

We want to develop 400 stations in a unique model and 15 to 20 billion USD are expected to be invested in it, Prabhu said.

He said all information will be on website and tenders will be invited with highest level of transparency.

Exuding confidence that capital expenditure will exceed in the current fiscal, he said there are many ongoing projects like DFC, gauge conversation, doubling, safety upgradation which involves good investments.

We are putting consumer money like Coal India on expansion of rail line for coal evacuation. Port connectivity and DFC are two other areas where investments are happening, he said.

On LIC fund, he said the first trance of it will be released very soon.  LIC has signed an MoU with railways committing investment of Rs 1.5 lakh crore in the next five years.

On ties with other countries, Prabhu said there will be collaboration with Japan and Korea for carrying out research on railways.

“Waterless and odourless toilets will be developed in collaboration with RDSO and Japan,” he said.

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Posted by on September 29, 2015 in Uncategorized


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Japan and Google invest in India to help upgrade Indian Railways

Japan and Google are investing in India and are all set to upgrade Indian Railways.  Japan has made heavy investments of about 140 billion dollars in order to revamp the railway infrastructure and modernisation of various aspects. Japan’s plan involves development of about 400 railway stations in India and changes in the transportation network as well.

Japan is known for its development and technological advancement. Japan has assured that they would assist in the zero-accident mission of the government and help the Indian government develop a more legal and regulatory high speed railway. Moreover, Japan will provide its expertise in catering the sanitation problems related to toilets in trains and stations.

Whereas Google has partnered with Indian Railways for ‘Project Nilgiri’.  ‘Project Nilgiri’ is a pilot project undertaken by the Indian government under which the government plans on setting Wi-Fi hotspots at almost 400 stations, in Phase 1. The Phase 2 will involve the Wi-Fi connection on moving trains using cutting edge technology.

The  Japan  delegates will come to India and analyse the opportunities for better development.  Research Designs and Standards Organisation (RDSO) will sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Railway Technical Research Institute of Japan for further research work which enable them to carry out better understanding and acquire modern technology to finalise the plan.

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Posted by on September 24, 2015 in Uncategorized


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Indian Railways may be running many premium trains on loss

Despite an overall operating ratio of 91 per cent, Indian Railways (IR) might be running many of its premium express trains, including Rajdhani, and Duronto, on losses, which remain hidden in the absence of a train-wise cost-benefit analysis done by the transporter.

The high-level committee on railway restructuring under member has said in its report eight of the 16 Rajdhani, Shatabdi and express trains are incurring operational losses per trip.

“Before a decision is taken to introduce a new train or eliminate an existing one, such an exercise should be automatic and mandatory. It is not impossible to do. However, the present system sees no reason to do it,” Debroy has said in the report, to argue IR does not carry out costing based on commercial principles even where it is possible.

The panel has pointed out costing of trains as an example. “One does not quite know how much a specific train costs. In the present costing system, all annual expenses are allocated to different services and one thus arrives at a unit cost for trains. The revenue figures are easier to determine. However, since one does not know how much a specific train costs, one does not know how much of profits a specific train brings in. This is true of both passenger and freight trains,” it said.

The committee, therefore, got the rail ministry to do a tentative per-trip cost analysis for 16 trains, including six Duronto, five Shatabdi and six express trains. All the five Duronto trains were found to be running at costs higher than revenue generated per trip. The losses ranged between Rs 33,204 and Rs 10,90,480 for individual trains.

Also, while two of the six Rajdhani trains were making losses, only one Shatabdi train of the five studied had costs higher than revenue. “This is part of a broader malaise, since the Railways does not follow a commercial accounting system. Therefore, one does not quite know the accounts for fixed railway infrastructure, passenger traffic, freight traffic, suburban railways and the production and construction units,” the report said.

In order to highlight the larger need for reforms, the panel has also highlighted how the Kolkata Metro is running at an operating ratio of a staggering 300 per cent. That means, the Metro system spends Rs 300 for every Rs 100 it earns.

The Debroy panel report, submitted to the rail ministry last week, has recommended multiple reform initiatives, including rationalisation of the workforce, setting up an independent regulator and reorganisation of railway services.

Business Standard
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Posted by on June 20, 2015 in Uncategorized


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State aid for developing 6 rail stations

A small beginning has been made by the State towards Railway’s request for cost-sharing of projects by extending Rs.9.95 crore for developing and improving passenger facilities at six stations.

The Kollam, Kottayam, Ernakulam Junction, Ernakulam North, Thrissur, and Kozhikode railway stations will benefit from the assistance given by the State as part of a Central scheme to implement development works on the rail network.

Tenders had been awarded for the selected works at these stations. Official sources told The Hinduthat Rs.7.98 crore had been made available to Railways through the District Collectors of Thiruvananthapuram and Kozhikode.

Cost sharing

Officials said Railways had been urging the State to share the cost of projects for several years. The State was first asked to share 50:50 cost of the ambitious Sabari project that had been dragging on for years.

Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Karnataka, and Tamil Nadu had opted for the cost-sharing concept by signing an MoU with Railways for improving rail infrastructure.

Under the financial cooperation extended by the State, passenger facilities would be improved at each station at a cost of Rs.1.99 crore.

A retiring room, platform, and parking facilities had been proposed at the second entry to the Kollam station. Other works had commenced and tenders for parking facilities would be floated again, the sources said.

At the Kottayam station, a foot overbridge would be set up at the Ernakulam end, and platform one would be widened.

The circulating area at the second entry to the station would be improved.

A foot overbridge, building for PRS at the second entry, improvement of platforms one and two, and mini-shelters would come up at the Thrissur station.

An executive lounge, renovation of second class waiting hall, and improvement of the circulating area would be taken up at Ernakulam Junction while extension of platform two for accommodating 24 coaches and construction of retiring and dormitory rooms would be carried out at Ernakulam North under the scheme.

 The Hindu
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Posted by on June 10, 2015 in Uncategorized


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India should go for high-speed trains for faster growth: China

India should opt for bullet trains together with raising speed of trains on existing tracks to boost economic growth by improving connectivity, a combination that worked for China as well, a top railway official said here today.

With over a billion population and a large territorial area, India and China share the same conditions and up- gradation of railway infrastructure will result in faster economic development, Zhao Guotang, Deputy Chief Engineer of the China Railway said.
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Posted by on June 7, 2015 in Uncategorized


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Govt support can’t be railways’ only investment source: Suresh Prabhu

Railway minister Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu is busy turning around the 160-year-old transport behemoth, having laid out a rather ambitious Rs 8.5-lakh crore investment road map for the next five years. The focus is on tapping all possible resources, including foreign agencies, domestic institutions and leveraging rail PSUs, the 61-year-old banker-cum-politician tells Jyoti Mukul and Sudheer Pal Singh in an interview. Edited excerpts:

How have you taken forward the investment road map rolled out in the Budget?

The white paper we brought out was a diagnosis of the financials. And one of the points that came out as a result of this diagnosis was that there is under-investment in the railways. With a Rs 8,50,000-crore Plan size for five years, we are focusing on investment to decongest our network and improve the throughput so that we can increase our earning capacity. We will leverage the books of public sector undertakings. Projects where the internal rate of return is higher than the dividend will be taken up.

Financing of railway projects cannot be left to depend entirely on internal generation. It has never happened anywhere in the world. That is why our dependence on budgetary support and extra-budgetary resources has gone up.

Revenue will increase when volume will increase which, in turn, will increase if you increase the capacity to handle more traffic. Otherwise, revenue and profit will never increase. This is the simple philosophy of any organisation. We will leverage the books of public sector undertakings. Projects where the internal rate of return is high will be taken up on priority. Multilateral agencies are willing to provide us assistance. Also, we will get money from tax-free bonds which the Finance Ministry has already announced. As of now, there is no problem of shortage of money for the railways.

Wouldn’t it lead to excessive dependence on debt?

Gross budgetary support from the government cannot be the only source for investment. Worldwide, for financing railway infrastructure, debt is taken. Currently, the debt liability of Indian Railways is just 13 per cent of the traffic receipts, which is lower than in other countries. For instance, debt was 41 per cent of the German Railways’ total revenue of 39 billion euros in 2013.

What kind of financing model will be put in place for funding projects?

We are exploring the possibility of adopting the annuity or deferred payment model for implementing projects through PSUs. SBI Caps is rendering financial advisory services to us. Of the total of Rs 8,50,000 crore, Rs 2,50,000 crore would be through market borrowing, including IRFC borrowing for rolling stock. We will use funds from Life Insurance Corporation, pension funds, etc. This does not include lending from multilateral agencies, which will come through gross budgetary support from the ministry of finance.

We have the model of leasing through IRFC and it has worked well. Seventy seven projects worth around Rs 1 lakh crore have been shortlisted which we will focus on doubling.

Your ministry has just announced the implementation of 39 Budget announcements in 36 days since April 1. But critics point out that most of these are related to relatively small and non-core issues.

All of our efforts are customer-centric. Our Budget document is a five-year plan and this plan is being unfolded by way of the Budget being passed. So, what we are trying to do is to implement each and every point I have made in my Budget speech. All of them have been turned into action points.

That is why in the first month itself we have managed to implement 39 of the Budget announcements. In addition, we have started online monitoring called E-Samiksha of all the projects.

Have you managed to bring the protesting trade unions on board on key issues, such as privatisation?

The unions, which were considered a part of the problem earlier, have become a part of the solution now. Representatives of both the trade unions came and met me today. And they have told me that the entire organisation was demoralised earlier and I have re-energised it. So, we are trying to engage with them and work with them.

What role has been envisaged for the Rail Tariff Authority?

We have started the process of setting up a working group to draw the contours of a railway regulator. The regulator’s role will be more than just tariff. It will be entrusted with making regulations, setting performance standards and determining tariffs. It will also adjudicate among licensees and private partners.

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Posted by on May 9, 2015 in Uncategorized


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