Indian Railways Thread

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Re: Indian Railways Thread

Postby Gagan » 30 May 2010 13:43

Tubular tracks
Image

That tubular track has reached KSA also.
Image Image Image

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Re: Indian Railways Thread

Postby Virupaksha » 30 May 2010 15:23

Any reason for choosing the various city metros phase to be western standard guage instead of Indian standard broad gauge?

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Re: Indian Railways Thread

Postby prashanth » 30 May 2010 17:15

Well, acquiring land for metros in a city like Bangalore is a big task. Standard gauge requires less space than broad gauge.

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Re: Indian Railways Thread

Postby Virupaksha » 30 May 2010 20:07

prashanth wrote:Well, acquiring land for metros in a city like Bangalore is a big task. Standard gauge requires less space than broad gauge.

and this short term issue overrides the difference of guage issues forever??

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Re: Indian Railways Thread

Postby Rahul M » 30 May 2010 20:11

ravi IIRC it's for commonality with global standard. I don't think it's a land issue.

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Re: Indian Railways Thread

Postby Virupaksha » 30 May 2010 20:20

Rahul M wrote:ravi IIRC it's for commonality with global standard. I don't think it's a land issue.

That is what I am trying to understand.

What use do we get by that, when rest of India is on broad gauge. Hell, if in future we have a rail link to Pak or BD, it will be broad gauge. Other than some foreigner God knows where has it to whom we have no land link, how does it it help india?

I got this doubt especially after reading this.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_Unigauge

Infact Delhi metro as of now is the one and only non-"standard" gauge in the whole of India.

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Re: Indian Railways Thread

Postby Rahul M » 30 May 2010 20:28

I don't understand why it's a problem if we have different standards in metro and vanilla railways. we are not going to mix them anytime soon AFAIK. the technology etc even other than track width are quite different.
FYI, the new extension to the kolkata metro will be standard gauge, as would be, if memory serves right, most of the other metros that are coming up. the policy decision is mostly based on recommendations of sreedharan and co, since he/DMRC is in an advisory position for most of the upcoming metro projects.
I do think he has considered the pros and cons.

project unigauge is not related to the metro projects which are run independently, except for the first one in the country, kolkata metro -- a mess in terms of project timelines.

all other metro projects including the DMRC and the expansion of metro in kolkata, KMRC are independent corporations funded by the govt agencies. they are not under the purview of IR.

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Re: Indian Railways Thread

Postby Sridhar K » 30 May 2010 20:36

Was n't this discussed in earlier version of this thread that Standard gauge was chosen because most metros worldwide runs on standard gauge and it is far easier to procure standard gauge metro rolling stock than broad gauge ones? IIRC, there a discussion on cost going up because of broad gauge rolling stock for first phase of DMRC. Secondly, it is unlikely that regular rails are going to run on metro tracks but what is the chance of extending metro's to run on regular track as they do in some part of US & UK?

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Re: Indian Railways Thread

Postby prashanth » 30 May 2010 20:50

Rahul M wrote:ravi IIRC it's for commonality with global standard. I don't think it's a land issue.


Sirjee, land was an issue in case of bangalore metro. As usual, the IR muscled its way to the planning committee with its broad gauge proposal. But BMRC cited increased land acquisition and overall project cost to shoot down the proposal.

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Re: Indian Railways Thread

Postby Rahul M » 30 May 2010 21:27

prasanthji, it was an excuse as good as any, if you know what I mean. :wink:

>> but what is the chance of extending metro's to run on regular track as they do in some part of US & UK?

sridhar saar, new metro lines are being planned where they will share a node with vanilla IR lines. I haven't heard of this particular proposal. what are the advantages of it ?

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Re: Indian Railways Thread

Postby Virupaksha » 30 May 2010 22:11

Rahul M wrote:prasanthji, it was an excuse as good as any, if you know what I mean. :wink:

>> but what is the chance of extending metro's to run on regular track as they do in some part of US & UK?

sridhar saar, new metro lines are being planned where they will share a node with vanilla IR lines. I haven't heard of this particular proposal. what are the advantages of it ?

RahulMji,

this is precisely the point. The point where it starts and ends becomes another railway altogether. Metro rakes will need their own repair centres. Temporary adjustments for say a big rally/festival cannot be made from one to another. The emergency engines of one cannot be used for another. These trains will need their own depots for storage in night instead of piggybanking to a certain extent on the present.

What can go wrong will go wrong at the worst moment. Say, touch wood, an accident happens and a coach topples / derails, the emergency wagon removers/cranes being used else where cannot be used for these and will require their own individual complete duplicate infrastructure.

Extending metro one station to the next in suburbs say to be used only in peak times cannot be done and will require building a new complete dedicated line.

There will be no/minimal drill down of knowledge. The comforts/techniques being put into manufacture of wagons/engines of one cannot be put into other, because of manufacture of these wagons will mandate its own exclusive factories completely independent of the rest of India.

All I see is penny wise pound foolish and creating a few "snobbish" railway centres.

I will be frank, except for the initial cost saving, I am not able to understand the advantages here. Possibly the initial cost savings may be so high to cover all these issues, which I doubt.

Eg: In hyderabad or mumbai, there is no "metro" as such. Even today in mumbai, the city trains run on the same line as other, just that for signals they get preference. There are suburban trains in hyderabad which run on the same routes as express trains, though it is not so properly connected.

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Re: Indian Railways Thread

Postby Rahul M » 30 May 2010 22:41

what you are talking of are the local/suburban trains, all major cities have those may not be as well known as mumbai's but they are not any less crowded or important. . that's not what I'm calling metro. at the moment the difference in standard between the proposed/UC metros and these is too much to think of a common system. I'm guessing you do not have much experience of these sub-urban trains ?
the metros primarily cater to the intra-city transportation while the local/sub-urbans trains carry people to and from the city centre to the outskirts. while slowly the metros will expand towards the sub-urbs, they are still far way-off from replacing them. the difference between the two systems is almost as much as that between bullock-carts and motor cars.

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Re: Indian Railways Thread

Postby Virupaksha » 30 May 2010 22:46

Rahul M wrote:what you are talking of are the local/suburban trains, all major cities have those may not be as well known as mumbai's but they are not any less crowded or important. . that's not what I'm calling metro. at the moment the difference in standard between the proposed/UC metros and these is too much to think of a common system. I'm guessing you do not have much experience of these sub-urban trains ?
the metros primarily cater to the intra-city transportation while the local/sub-urbans trains carry people to and from the city centre to the outskirts. while slowly the metros will expand towards the sub-urbs, they are still far way-off from replacing them. the difference between the two systems is almost as much as that between bullock-carts and motor cars.

I would definitely like to know more about the difference. More specifically how "standard" gauge will help.

Just FYI, I have travelled in hyd, mumbai, new york, new jersey apart from travelling long distance in India.

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Re: Indian Railways Thread

Postby Theo_Fidel » 31 May 2010 00:07

IIRC correctly, much of the SG/BG silliness is political. Looking at some of the history is valuable.

IR has project Unigauge which at great cost is standardizing to broad gauge lines w/ wider coaches.

Delhi Metro starts with a team taken largely from Konkan Railway.

Konakan Railway is staggering under an huge debt load and it looks like it will have to be rescued by IR.

IR is terrified that Delhi Metro too will go bankrupt and land on its neck.

Sridharan insists DM be standard gauge. IR refuses to pass safety inspection. Remember IR still thinks DM will land on its neck and also IR is being difficult.

Sreedharan wants to use all imported equipment. No attempt is made by DM to establish manufacturing in INDIA. This has now come back to bite DM in the butt with all the problems it is having sourcing coaches.

Isn't it tragic that after all that investment by DM for 15+ years we have no technology to build the equipment locally? No long term ability. No competitive advantage. This was Sreedharan's choice. Its one thing to try and fail, DM went out of its way to not try.

Even the contractors were foreign and they have now left and the quality is no longer the same because the locals were not brought up to those standards. What was DM thinking, one wonders.

Time may have been a big factor, but still...

IR wins first round and DM phase 1 is standard gauge. Sreedharan insists coaches be Standard gauge size eliminating broad gauge advantage. Yes playing with our money.

DM becomes 'profitable' and stays separate from IR so now has leverage to go to standard gauge and standard gauge size coaches.

The smaller coaches are already causing capacity issues and over crowding worse than it needs to be.

But who cares. Politics reigns supreme.

Standard Gauge is about 10% cheaper than Broad Gauge to build , but broad gauge can hold about 15% more passengers. (3.2m vs 3.66m width)
Last edited by Theo_Fidel on 31 May 2010 02:02, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Indian Railways Thread

Postby Gagan » 31 May 2010 02:01

ravi_ku wrote:Any reason for choosing the various city metros phase to be western standard guage instead of Indian standard broad gauge?

The issue is complex.
All the cars are still imported. And all these cars are manufactured in standard gauge.
The number of cars on delhi metro is still too small for the videshi manufacturer to customize them to broad gauge. In phase I of Delhi Metro, the DMRC got them customized to broad gauge at extra cost and effort, but the advantage was that these coaches were shipped into kolkata and then transported via the indian railways network to new delhi.

For further phases of the Delhi Metro, DMRC has decided to have its tracks on standard guage, so its coaches are shipped in via an An-124 from Germany, and put on the tracks directly.

Now Bombardier has set up its plant in Gujarat, anticipating around half a dozen metro rail projects building immediately, and the couple of dozen more projects in the future. All these railways have the option of asking for standard gauge or broad gauge. Now it depends entirely on them. Metro rail coaches are very light and are easily transportable by road, so no such dependency on the Indian railways network is there.

Mind you, that the conversion of standard gauge to broad gauge is not a very simple task. The entire chassis apparently needs rework, this means that the bogie car's attachment to the chassis needs rework. The complex braking, suspension and motoring system needs rework, and all of this has to be CAD-CAM-ed and then certified before the videshis will ship it to their customer.

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Re: Indian Railways Thread

Postby Sridhar K » 31 May 2010 04:42

Rahul M >> As far as I know, there is no proposal anywhere. I guess your point is that metros and the general railways form an hub and spoke model and would have less need for interoperability. I have been thinking about it for the past few weeks after seeing the LN tubes and other rail infra sharing tracks in certain places. The PATH trains in NJ share some common track with NJ Transit/Amtrak near the Newark station. Everything being standard gauge helps as tracks are shared in certain areas while they diverge into separate lines in other areas. During track maintenance, it is easy to divert trains on other lines.

Just wondering as others, IR has put too much effort and money to undo the British introduced multi-gauge model that prevented interoperability, increased costs, management complexity. Now DMRC is going SG and so will be other metros citing the same reason. Theo's point about capacity is very valid. From my limited experience in NY/NJ, I think (I may be wrong) the size of the SG coaches are similar/only slightly bigger than the old MG EMU coaches in Chennai. Chennai MG EMUs made way for the BG EMUs' and the capacity difference is stark. For India, one wonders if even BG is enough and is going SG a retrograde step?

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Re: Indian Railways Thread

Postby prashanth » 31 May 2010 16:00

Sreedharan wants to use all imported equipment. No attempt is made by DM to establish manufacturing in INDIA.



http://www.bemlindia.com/product_rm.php

http://www.bemlindia.com/documents/Products/Rail%20&%20Metro/Metro.pdf

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Re: Indian Railways Thread

Postby Theo_Fidel » 01 Jun 2010 03:38

Those continue to be CKD's from ROTEM. Very little in house.

In fact if you look at the under carriage you will note the name plate is ROTEM.

Have you seen the quality of BEML other railway coaches!!

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Re:On Line Reservation

Postby SSridhar » 07 Jun 2010 10:23

Indian railways clicks with online ticket booking
Excerpts
IT adds up to 153.56 million. That's the number of online train tickets sold since January 2002, when Indian Railways offered its passengers the option of booking a ticket on the Web.

No wonder then that when Google released its list of most searched items in India recently, along with giants such as Nokia, SBI, Sony, Samsung and BSNL, there was also this public sector unit called IRCTC — Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corporation.

Another example in the urban, rail-based transportation system is the Delhi Metro's highly popular pre-paid, smart card. The popularity of smart card reflects the willingness of people to pay more upfront to avoid queues. For the financial year ended March 2010, on a daily basis, 54 per cent of Delhi Metro commuters — daily average of 4.91 lakh people — opted for smart cards to avoid queues.

Quite naturally, the desired way forward would be interoperable transportation smart cards — which can be used to make payments in buses, trains, metros, across cities. Countries such as Japan and Singapore have already taken initiatives in this direction.

In India, a project has already been launched to test such interoperable cards at Mumbai — for the BEST buses and Central Railways' local trains.

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Re: Indian Railways Thread

Postby abhishek_sharma » 16 Jun 2010 07:33

India’s Clogged Rail Lines Stall Economic Progress

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/16/business/global/16indiarail.html

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Re: Indian Railways Thread

Postby SSridhar » 07 Jul 2010 10:48

Tatkal booking fraud
In the wake of growing complaints from the public regarding server inaccessibility when booking Tatkal tickets, the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) has barred agents from availing this facility for an hour, when it opens at 8 a.m.

Tatkal booking opens two days ahead of departure, and a daily 15-minute server failure meant booking was hampered.

The allegation is that this was done to benefit the IRCTC agents, as one is forced to go through them to book Tatkal tickets, having to pay a heavy premium.

Within a matter of minutes, all the Tatkal tickets get booked, leaving the general public high and dry. Then the IRCTC website would start functioning normally all through the day. The railways sell about 9.5-lakh tickets for reserved berths of all categories each day, of which Tatkal accounts for 1.5-lakh tickets.


But, the report does not speak of any criminal proceedings aginst those who indulged in this.

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Re: Indian Railways Thread

Postby Sachin » 07 Jul 2010 11:01

SSridhar wrote:But, the report does not speak of any criminal proceedings aginst those who indulged in this.

I have a doubt here. The whole logic behind the web site beginning to accept bookings at 8AM was to ensure that it coincided with the time when the manaul booking counters opened. Or else it would be unfair to the people who do not have internet connectivity. It is true that Tatkal booking using the IRCTC booking is pretty much a non-workable thing. May be lots of people (agents+others) logging in and crashing the servers. But blocking the site for one hour to the agents would not be a workable solution. The agents can still join the early morning queue, or have a tie up with the booking clerks and get the Tatkal reservation done.

Do we have absolute proof that the web site crash was purposefully orchestrated by IRCTC team colluding with the travel agents? Or is it because the server could not take the heavy load which just starts at 8PM (too many people rushing in to book tickets first thing in the morning).

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Re: Indian Railways Thread

Postby Rishirishi » 07 Jul 2010 13:47

Theo_Fidel wrote:IIRC correctly, much of the SG/BG silliness is political. Looking at some of the history is valuable.

IR has project Unigauge which at great cost is standardizing to broad gauge lines w/ wider coaches.

Delhi Metro starts with a team taken largely from Konkan Railway.

Konakan Railway is staggering under an huge debt load and it looks like it will have to be rescued by IR.

IR is terrified that Delhi Metro too will go bankrupt and land on its neck.

Sridharan insists DM be standard gauge. IR refuses to pass safety inspection. Remember IR still thinks DM will land on its neck and also IR is being difficult.

Sreedharan wants to use all imported equipment. No attempt is made by DM to establish manufacturing in INDIA. This has now come back to bite DM in the butt with all the problems it is having sourcing coaches.

Isn't it tragic that after all that investment by DM for 15+ years we have no technology to build the equipment locally? No long term ability. No competitive advantage. This was Sreedharan's choice. Its one thing to try and fail, DM went out of its way to not try.

Even the contractors were foreign and they have now left and the quality is no longer the same because the locals were not brought up to those standards. What was DM thinking, one wonders.

Time may have been a big factor, but still...

IR wins first round and DM phase 1 is standard gauge. Sreedharan insists coaches be Standard gauge size eliminating broad gauge advantage. Yes playing with our money.

DM becomes 'profitable' and stays separate from IR so now has leverage to go to standard gauge and standard gauge size coaches.

The smaller coaches are already causing capacity issues and over crowding worse than it needs to be.

But who cares. Politics reigns supreme.

Standard Gauge is about 10% cheaper than Broad Gauge to build , but broad gauge can hold about 15% more passengers. (3.2m vs 3.66m width)


Compare the service, look and feel of IR with DM. Would you have preferred the IR??

To handle peek hour load, frequency of the trains must be increased. Increasing the size of trains, means that you have to run larger trains, even during peak hour (more costly), larger trains also means more congestions on platforms and other infrastructure.
With SG DM can implement the latest tech worldwide. With BG DM would have been at the mercy of the junk IR runs on.

Indian PSU could probably make in operatig system for the computer, but would it be a good idea?. Much better to use Windows.

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Re: Indian Railways Thread

Postby SSridhar » 17 Jul 2010 07:13

The Pamban Bridge is being strengthened
Railway sources said that the work would take at least a few months for the completion. It would enable the Southern Railway to operate goods trains on Pamban Bridge, which was recently converted into broad gauge.

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Re: Indian Railways Thread

Postby Singha » 17 Jul 2010 08:32

I read an article about record heat wave in europe. seems ACs in chi chi german railways trains gave out, locking up passengers in stifling heat of 50C - many fainted. also some airports closed due to heat damage to tarmac and eqpt.

so much for EU std eqpt best in the world, best for the world - the real test would be extended runs in Yindia. eg the panasonic and hitachi traction motors IR uses in WAP locos have proven themselves in the harshest of operating regimes vs sanitized env in japan.

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Re: Indian Railways Thread

Postby rahulm » 18 Jul 2010 09:38

Not quite saar.Please allow me.

AEC & Siemens traction motors are widely used in IR locos. Then the Alstom TAO 659 provides sterling service on the WAG5, the 2nd most populous IR loco across the length and breadth of India and its harsh climes. The WAP5 hauls some of the fastest prestigious trains in India and is strung with ABB motors. All Oiropean onlee.

Have never heard about panasonic traction motors in India but will try and look this up.

A large part of IR is Oiropean - the new LHB & older Schlieren (Swiss) rakes, various locos parts and the entire WAP5 and WAG9 & signalling (SIEMENS).

If you take IR's premier train on IR's premier corridor, the Mumbai - NDLS Rajdhani, you ride inside LHB rakes, hauled by the brute WAP-7 thundering along to the tunes of Siemens signalling. All Oiropean and all very IR.

The diesel portion of IR is Amrikee.

In the good old days when the Mumbai-NDLS Raj and all other Raj's were diesel hauled the train used to have an EOG (End On Generation) car to provide the trains hotel electricity. This meant,Schlieren rakes, WDM (Amrikee) motive power, Siemens signalling and the EOG used the Indian built MWM 232 V12 (German) diesel gensets often though not always with AEG (German) alternators, British track alignments and stations, with SDRE ownership& management.The mind boggles. We are good at systems integration.

I think AC's are designed with a certain maximum ambient emperature in mind after which they pack up. The temperatures on the day would have probably been consistently higher than the the maximum designed for hence the issue. BTW,I am no HVAC expert so please take with a pinch of salt.

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Re: Indian Railways Thread

Postby hnair » 18 Jul 2010 20:31

Rishirishi wrote:Compare the service, look and feel of IR with DM. Would you have preferred the IR??

To handle peek hour load, frequency of the trains must be increased. Increasing the size of trains, means that you have to run larger trains, even during peak hour (more costly), larger trains also means more congestions on platforms and other infrastructure.
With SG DM can implement the latest tech worldwide. With BG DM would have been at the mercy of the junk IR runs on.

Indian PSU could probably make in operatig system for the computer, but would it be a good idea?. Much better to use Windows.


Indeed, true. Indian PSU run operating system might not have that talking paperclip or provide us frequent mandatory updates in a prompt weekly fashion. Otherwise it will run quite well, like that butt-ugly Fortran based IR reservation system, that was architected back in the 80s. I never expereinced a double booking on that system, despite extreme geographical mismatches of booking centers 8)

I think Theo is pointing out some of the technological choices of Shree Sreedharan, not DM vs IR service standards. If we had gone towards ToT and manufacturing, within the last few years, Indian manufacturing (private or public) could have easily absorb making these trainsets in India. Plus as ravi_ku is pointing out, distinct advantages exist for interoperability with IR gauges, since Indian metros have infrequent events that attract gigantic numbers of people at short notice (rallys, festivals, religious meetings etc) and metros choke up fast.

Much as I admire Shree Sreedharan's incredible project management skills, I am not sure he did his best to get the tech part done more and more in India.

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Re: Indian Railways Thread

Postby nachiket » 18 Jul 2010 20:38

hnair wrote:
Much as I admire Shree Sreedharan's incredible project management skills, I am not sure he did his best to get the tech part done more and more in India.

Had he done that, the project would have probably been delayed and the media would be badmouthing his project management skills right now.

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Re: Indian Railways Thread

Postby rahulm » 19 Jul 2010 10:04

At least 50 dead in India train crash

"A speeding express train rammed into the back of another passenger train in eastern India in the early hours of Monday, killing at least 50 people,..."

Full facts are not out yet, but appalling & avoidable loss of life if the ACD could have prevented this.

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Re: Indian Railways Thread

Postby aqkhan » 20 Jul 2010 02:26

11 years on, still no anti-collision devices
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/India/11-years-on-still-no-anti-collision-devices/articleshow/6189065.cms

For at least 15 years, suburban trains in Mumbai have used an Auxillary Warning System (AWS), which prevents trains from jumping red signals. But even though there have been 43 major accidents in the past two decades, the railways are yet to install similar technology in all trains, which could save hundreds of lives.

:roll:

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Re: Indian Railways Thread

Postby hnair » 20 Jul 2010 04:23

nachiket wrote:
hnair wrote:
Much as I admire Shree Sreedharan's incredible project management skills, I am not sure he did his best to get the tech part done more and more in India.

Had he done that, the project would have probably been delayed and the media would be badmouthing his project management skills right now.


nachiket, phase I completion was the crucial one, that proved things can work as planned and on time. For hitting that deadline without delay, he can import all he wants. But after that phase, Shree Shreedharan would have got anything he asked for, including some good ToT agreements.

There was a distinct window of opportunity there. This tech is needed far into the future, as metros are going to haul a lot of us around, much more than say a regional airliner, IMO.

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Re: Indian Railways Thread

Postby Singha » 20 Jul 2010 07:23

at present only konkan, mumbai and NFR have anti collision. there are allegations that IR wanted to import vs using the konkan developed system and hence shunted the deployment to cinderella NFR.

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Re: Indian Railways Thread

Postby vina » 20 Jul 2010 09:16

Standard Gauge is about 10% cheaper than Broad Gauge to build , but broad gauge can hold about 15% more passengers. (3.2m vs 3.66m width)


I don't know wrt to the Metro systems being discussed. In Dilli, though the tracks may be conventional BG, the carriages are the same SG coaches imported from Korea sitting on BG rakes. So the "advantage" of BG having a higher loading gauge and bigger coach is not being used in Dilli AFAIK. So that "advantage" is really moot.

Sridharan is right. There is no way in hell any metro coach is going to run on a conventional IR main line and vice versa. I cant imagine a Bangalore-Chennai mail come to Jayanagar via the metro tracks. Even in a country with all systems standardized on a single gauge, it boggle's anyone imagination to think that a mainline train is run on a city metro (which is what the goli IR gave for same gauge).

If any standardization needs to be done, it should be across metro systems in India and the globally accepted standard which is SG, or we will end up like NYC where because the NYC metro was basically built and run by many companies over time and each had their own gauges, it is a mishmash of gauges, standards and everything. So they cant standardize on a single trainset standard, they have multiple maintenance workshops etc.

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Re: Indian Railways Thread

Postby vina » 20 Jul 2010 09:18

the panasonic and hitachi traction motors IR uses in WAP locos have proven themselves in the harshest of operating regimes vs sanitized env in japan


Hitachi locos were used only in the MG section between Madras Egmore and Villupurum (ie the southern lines). Maybe because Japan too has MG largely , the choice. The mainline BG locos were always Oieropean . With gauge conversion, the MG electric locos went the way of the dodo. The Diesel MG locals were made into shunting locos I think by putting them on BG bogies.

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Re: Indian Railways Thread

Postby Avik » 20 Jul 2010 23:28

^^^^^^^
Vina: Hitachi traction motors are used in the current production versions of WAG-7 and WAP-4 locos of IR. They are supposed to be very good.
While they are being used in the current production models, in the past, they have been used in WCM-3, WCM-4 (the old Bombay Ghat section DC locos) and some WAG-2 as well.

You may be right on the Chennai MG section using the comlete loco units from Hitachi.

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Re: Indian Railways Thread

Postby SSridhar » 21 Jul 2010 09:00

On the ACDs
“We have installed the anti-collision device on all the trains and the tracks of the North East Frontier Railway and have now received the sanction to extend the implementation to three other zones – Southern Railway, South Central Railway and South Western Railway,” Siddheshwar Telegu, Chief Public Relations Officer, Konkan Railway, told The Hindu on Tuesday.

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Re: Indian Railways Thread

Postby Sachin » 21 Jul 2010 09:36

SSridhar and others,

Any updates on the West Bengal train crash? Every body seems to say that this is a mystery, but nothing more than that. I find it really odd that i)two drivers, one an A special ii)allowed a train to over-speed and did not observe signals iii)and were found dead at their seats, without making any attempt to escape !! :eek:.

As I mentioned in the "Red Menace" thread, engine drivers operate on a fixed road/route so they would be familiar with signals and track layouts. The train also had a normal breaking/stop at a station 10 kms away. They had to cross a bridge where there was a permenant speed restriction of 30kms. The possibility may be that the drivers were drugged, or suddenly incapicitated. I hope an autopsy may provide some clue.

There was a short programme as part of the News at 9. Rajdeep Sardesai was the anchor. There were two top brasses from the railway (one was Vivek Sahay(??) who had appeared on the National Geographic programme "The great Indian Railway" and another a GM level officer). There was also a representative from the Railway driver's union. I am sorry to say this, but the union representative's points all turned out to be baseless. His main gripe was that engine drivers were over-worked, without adequate rest. He gave the example of the Jhansi shed. He may have a point here, but the railway top brass at once pointed out that the two drivers of the ill-fated express were from the Maldha(?) shed, and had 18 hours continous rest before they started driving. When the union chap said there are lots of vacancies of drivers not filled up, the railway higher up said that the vacancies were for goods train drivers and shunters.

But at the end of it this 10 minutes discussion led by Rajdeep Sardesai did not clear any of my doubts, or did not teach me any thing new. It was that classic high pitched, accented English dialogue delivery which at first gives an impression of a heated debate, but finally nothing worth is revealed.

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Re: Indian Railways Thread

Postby chaanakya » 21 Jul 2010 21:52

moved from Red Menace thread

chaanakya wrote:Just before the station ( 1.8Kms ) there is a bridge.It is unlikely that driver ( in A category and a regular on that route) would not know that they are approaching the station and need to be below 30kmph. Bridge itself has speed limit of 30kmph. Driver reportedly halted at Gadadharpur station, just 10km from Sainthia and then speeded in excess of 70kmph.. So signal may not be malfunctioning.
Something drastically gone wrong after train left Gadadharpur. What could that be ???
Why drivers did not apply breaks at all when there was no visibility problem??
Another good question is , why line to that platform was open. Train could have gone to another line as there was already a train on platform. To me it appears that as Vanachal was leaving the platform, the interlock could have been disengaged.



One conjecture

Calcutta, July 20: Railway officials today claimed the two drivers of the Uttar Banga Express may have been drugged by a tea vendor, preventing them from acting to avert a collision with the Vananchal Express at Sainthia station yesterday.

Preliminary investigations have thrown up “evidence” that driver Madhab Chandra Dey and his assistant Nirmal Kumar Mandal had drunk tea during their previous, two-minute stopover at Gadadharpur station, 7.5km from Sainthia, senior officials said.

Whether the tea was spiked, though, appears to be conjecture at this point. Only a viscera report, which will take seven to 15 days to arrive, can establish drugging.

The drug theory was lent some credence, however, by the wife of Somnath Sengupta, the injured Uttar Banga guard.

“My husband had called me (from hospital) at 6.40pm yesterday. He said that when the train failed to slow down as it approached Sainthia yesterday, he had tried to speak to the drivers over the walkie-talkie. But one of them couldn’t speak at all while the other was groaning,” Sangeeta Sengupta told The Telegraph at her home in Malda.


Several gangs have been befriending and drugging train passengers in eastern India with spiked beverages and robbing them, and it’s possible that Dey and Mandal got their tea from one of these. These gangs operate across states and will be harder to catch than a local station vendor.

Pharmacology specialists said a person’s tea or soft drink could indeed be spiked with small amounts of certain drugs such as nitrazepam, which would not change the taste but put him to sleep in minutes, especially if his stomach was empty.


“Once a train is put on a particular track, the (convergence/divergence) points behind it are set in such a way that if the next train flouts the signal, it will be diverted to another track. It seems the operator didn’t set the panels properly,” an official said.

Railway sources defended the Uttar Banga guard against criticism for not applying the guard’s brakes to stop the train.

“As a rule, we don’t encourage guards to apply full brakes. If the guard applies the brakes from the rear while the driver is running the train at full speed, the train can be snapped from the middle,” an official said. “The guard’s brakes are meant mainly as a signal for the drivers to stop.”

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Re: Indian Railways Thread

Postby chaanakya » 21 Jul 2010 21:54

Moved from Read Menace Thread


^^^

Mystery of three cups and a train accident

And some more conjectures

Gadadharpur (Birbhum), July 20: Three white plastic cups and three used tea bags lying on the tracks and platform of this small, sleepy station may hold the key to the mystery of the train crash at Sainthia, 7.5km away.

If the Uttar Banga drivers did drink drug-laced tea during their two-minute halt here, just seven minutes before the 2.02am accident, they would have had to buy it from ghosts. At 1.53am, when the train rolled in for its unscheduled stop, the platform would have been deserted, local vendors said.

But then, it’s only ghosts who could have sold the plastic cups. No vendor at the station or the stalls outside sells tea in plastic cups, station officials and hawkers said. None provides tea bags.

No one knows if the drivers drank from these plastic cups, but the mystery still remains: where did the cups come from?

Or could they have been placed conveniently by an interested party after the accident?

Two of the cups, with tea bags inside, lay in the foliage by the tracks just to the right of where the Uttar Banga’s engine would have stood — a throw away from the locomotive’s right window. Nearby lay an empty, crushed pack of cigarettes.

Did either driver smoke? It wasn’t clear tonight.

To the left of where the engine would have stood, on the stone chips between the tracks and the platform, lay a third cup — just under where the locomotive’s left window would have been. The third tea bag lay on the platform, just above the third cup. Who was the third drinker?

Beside the tracks near the third cup lay a second pack of cigarettes, empty but new, as evident from its shiny plastic cover.

“If the Uttar Banga drivers indeed drank tea here, they must have got it from someone travelling on the train,” said Pintu Das, a hawker who sells lemon tea at the station in earthen cups.

If he’s right, one possibility is that it was one of the gangs that drug and rob passengers.

“Only local trains stop here. The Vananchal had passed the station at 1.43am; the Uttar Banga stopped briefly because the line wasn’t clear,” a railway official said.

It’s impossible to say what happened after that. “No one except the assistant stationmaster spends the night at the station (in his office). The ticket counter closes at 11pm after which no local train passes the station,” an official said.

Even the four shops outside the station — two selling tea and telebhaja and two selling sweets — close by 10pm.

“You will not even find a beggar sleeping on the platform,” said Kishen Sharma, a hawker who sells jhalmuri on trains.

Government Railway Police (GRP) sources said their officials and those of the railways, Railway Protection Force and the state criminal investigation department (CID) had visited the station yesterday afternoon.

“But they did not seize anything from the spot,” a GRP officer said.

chaanakya
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Re: Indian Railways Thread

Postby chaanakya » 22 Jul 2010 18:19

Diversion system not activated Duo on duty ‘booked off’

Calcutta, July 21: The interlocking system that could have diverted the speeding Uttar Banga Express to an empty platform and prevented it from ramming into the Vananchal Express at Sainthia station on Monday had not been activated, preliminary probe by the railways has revealed.


Somnath Sengupta, the guard of the Uttar Banga Express, told reporters after the questioning: “The home signal (signal located 500 metres before the platform) was red. I tried to contact the driver repeatedly over my walkie-talkie but did not get any response. Then I applied the emergency brakes,” Sengupta said.

Mohammad Nayeem, the driver of the Vananchal Express, said that “even though the green signal was given at 1.54am, we could start the train only at 2.01am because we had not received any signal from the guard”.


I suspect that line would have been cleared ( interlocking disengaged) since Vanachal was given green signal to start. Normally route is cleared once departing train reaches the next station( may not be scheduled halting station). However to avoid delay for next train, routes are cleared even before train has crossed the outer signal. This has been implemented on routes which follow auto signalling and keep a gap of about 1.5 to 2 Kms between two running trains.

In fact, at gadadharpur Uttarbanga stopped at 1.53 AM and started only when signal was given for Vanachal at Sainthia at 1.54 AM. Vananchal started late at 2.01AM which points to vanachal Guard's failure( now that he is dead, no corroboration). and failure of sainthia Signalman/Cabinman who cleared the interlocking<my guess> and station master sainthia who cleared station master Gadadharpur to start Uttarbanga even as vanachal was standing at the platform.

There seems to be shocking lapse of security procedures at various levels. All standard actions seems not to have been taken and could have averted accident( collision) . At the most, Uttarbanga could have derailed and casualty minimised.

The question still remains of extraordinarily high speed while approaching its scheduled stop, with a bridge just before it.


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