Indian Railways Thread

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Re: Indian Railways Thread

Postby Sachin » 22 Jul 2010 20:13

chaanakya wrote: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).

I would prefer to wait for some more clarity on this "interlocking" business which is mentioned in the news report. My understanding is that a system which i) recognizes a train on a specific line ii) then identifying the vacant line/platform and iii) then setting the route and signals automatically for the next train; does not exist (or else it is very uncommon). There is a system of RRI (Route Relay Interlocking) which is a system where the signal man sets the point of entry and exit, and the system automatically sets an appropriate route. But RRI is not installed at every Junction (or major station), and I don't know if it can take too many independent decisions (like the situation here).

There are of course other "interlocking" mechanisms in place. One is that a Red Signal (Home Signal, Starter, Advanced Starter Signal) would only turn green, if some distance ahead of it is clear of any obstructions. The "home signal" which the guard mentions here is a kind of last point check before trains enter the station platforms. In very many cases it is at home signal that the route (which platform the train would arrive at) is also indicated to the driver. With interlocking in place the home signal cannot be set to Orange or Green, if the track ahead is occupied by the train. The guard says he saw the "Home Signal" at Red, which means that the express train ahead had not cleared the platforms. Naturally he panicked and called the drivers, because his train should have stopped at the Home Signal. In ideal situation, the second express train stops at the home signal, the one currently at the station pulls out, crosses the Starter Signal and moves ahead. Then the home signal can be set to amber/orange and then the second train slowly pulls into the platform. Starter Signals and Advanced Starters are also some times interlocked with the "Block Instrument" using which Station Masters communicate with each other and give the "Line clear".

Station Master Sainthia can still give "Line Clear" to Gadadadhpur Station Master, ordering the 2nd express train to move ahead. The system allows it because the first express train is now reached Sainthia, have been pulled into a platform. He cannot do it when the first express train was actually mid-way (i.e left Gadadadhpur but not reached Sainthia). You cannot find fault with SM Sainthia, as his plan could have been to stop the 2nd express train at his home signal, and then take it in when the platforms are cleared.

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Re: Indian Railways Thread

Postby chaanakya » 22 Jul 2010 23:50

^^

Well Sachin , Agreed. we have to wait for RSC report.

However , those areas are much familiar to me and some familiarity with railways' actual operations, which include shortcuts adopted by the traffic/running staff.

Sainthia is not a big station though it is non-auto non-electrified trunk route and lies in an area where lines criss-cross (mostly for coal hauling). Area does not feature Auto signalling.Interlocking is all manual on this section. I think it has D/L with Lock and Block/2LQ.
SM can clear train at previous station(which was a halt only) only when train has pulled out beyond Outer signal( Advance starter signal).In this case Vanachal was just starting , after few minutes delay. This is fist violation in a non auto route. This has enabled Signalman/cabinman to clear the track to platform.

If guard saw distant signal red then there is no way line to platform could be clear. It would have been marked for side track or dead end track. If he saw home signal [ at sainthia, two signals(home and distant) for incoming and two for outgoing traffic (starter and advance starter ) for each line, besides intermediate routing signals to take the train on Asansol line.] then the line to platform was clear and that was a mistake . Distant signal should be red till the first train crosses Advance starter signal. Till then the outgoing track would also had been blocked It means that track on the rear side of vanachal and after home signal would have been locked to side track/slip track or loop track., Once Vanachal moved beyond advance starter signal then the line to platform would be cleared but line between starter and advance starter would have been blocked and locked to another track..SM also had to clear the route for turning towards Asansol for vanachal.

Sm can not have his own plans, he has to stick to safety protocols in traffic operations. Howrah traffic controller would have noted the breach.

Had Vanachal started on time , it would have moved to Asansol link line in less than two minutes and Uttarbanga would have been cleared towards Bolpur.

However speed is still puzzling me.

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Re: Indian Railways Thread

Postby chaanakya » 23 Jul 2010 00:58

Image

In Red circle , we have cabin and home signal. Dn line has two locks. One to up line and another to loop line on left extreme. Both locks are indicated in orange rect. Uttarabaanga could have been locked to either extreme left (in pink) or to extreme right ( in green). There is no slip siding visible here.
If there was freight train on Dn line )extreme left) then Uttarabanga should be locked to extreme right, keeping Up main line (blue) in clear.The block section on which vanachal was starting should not have been cleared.
You can notice the foot bridge and river in the picture.

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Re: Indian Railways Thread

Postby Sachin » 23 Jul 2010 10:26

chaanakya wrote:If guard saw distant signal red then there is no way line to platform could be clear. It would have been marked for side track or dead end track then the line to platform was clear and that was a mistake . Distant signal should be red till the first train crosses Advance starter signal.

Did the distant signal have a "Stop" aspect to it. Generally I have noticed that distant signals only have the "Green","Yellow" and "Double Yellow" aspects. The idea being that distant signal is a warning signal for a home signal (which would have a Red, Green and Yellow aspects). In some cases where the distance between two block stations are very less, I have seen the advanced starter signal of the current station acting as a distant signal for the station coming ahead. So if the home signal of the station ahead is not in "clear/green" position, the advanced starter can only show the "yellow" aspect.

Sm can not have his own plans, he has to stick to safety protocols in traffic operations. Howrah traffic controller would have noted the breach.

But then is it not a rule that permission is taken from the traffic controller before receiving/sending any train to/from the block section? For the simple reason that it is only traffic controllers who know the entire big picture (of every train and its location)? So in this case did Sainthia SM not contact the Traffic Controller at Howrah asking him permission to receive the second train?

PS: I do not work for the Railways, and this information I have is 100% based on some discussions I had over a period of time with running staff, SMs etc :). So it need not be accurate either ;).

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Re: Indian Railways Thread

Postby chaanakya » 23 Jul 2010 15:02

^^
As a general rule, all signals would have at least two aspects:- stop and proceed. ( 2LQ and MLQ) . In some places caution is used. So the sequence would be stop caution and proceed (MAUQ). On bigger stations featuring multiple blocks and diamond crossings would have four aspects:-stop , caution , attention, proceed (MACL). It is on big junctions and trunk route with auto signaling.

Sainthia has Outer home( distant) and home signal both featuring Stop and Proceed. I did indicate it is trunnk route, non auto and D/L 2LQ.

A block is not cleared till train moves to another block section. Interlocking works between two block sections and prevents train from being received unless blocks are cleared. Manually it would be set if there are mechanical faults. That is used by traffic/operations staff to shortcut .

SM can not take the train on the line if vanachal had not cleared the Block section and moved onto another section ( beyond advance starter) where it would have route signal for taking it to Asansol link line( single line). If it had move to another block section, the section before it would have been locked for slip/side line allowing SM to take train. Then SM would have given signal to Gadadharpur ASM( under Sainthia SM jurisdiction) start the train.

HTC would have noticed the breach, it does not mean SM would have asked for order from HTC. It is not needed.SM is traffic staff and fully responsible for running of train under jurisdiction of his block sections .There are clear rules for giving driver the authority to proceed. HTC might have intervened but timing is too short.

SM had no business to take train till vanachal had moved out, that means allowing Uttarbanga to start from Gadadharpur where it was waiting for line clearance during unscheduled stop. And he need not contact traffic controller. Operating procedures are very clear .

In normal course such deviation would have gone ignored as Uttarbanga would have waited at Outer Home signal or Home signal
. Even if all signals were green it would have 30 KMPH speed at the bridge and slowing to stop at approaching scheduled halt.
Instead , it was thundering down at 68-90 KMPH( reported in newspaper) well beyond the normal running speed limit prescribed for Express Trains besides being in violation of track speed limit.

This situation would not have been visualised by SM , but then rules are prescribed for this very purpose. Had SM followed the rule book , at the most Uttarbanga would have jumped the track while turning towards loop line or would not have started from previous station.

We would have seen "Savdhaani hati Durghtna Ghati" (in hindi) on all stations. This case seems to be one of them besides speed and tea cups mystery.

I am puzzled by actions of both the drivers of Uttarbanga. Were they, both of them, turned suicidal at the same time? Must have been incapacitated due to some unknown factors.

Lets see, what comes of CRS report.

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Re: Indian Railways Thread

Postby Theo_Fidel » 24 Jul 2010 00:50

Chanakya,

I have a question.

Per your diagram why is the right of way reversed from Left to Right at this station.

Could this have contributed to the confusion.

Also the there seems to be a spate of accidents in Eastern/North Eastern sectors recently.
Wonder if there is an underlying reason or it is just a quirk.

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Re: Indian Railways Thread

Postby chaanakya » 24 Jul 2010 01:58

Theo_Fidel wrote:Chanakya,

I have a question.

Per your diagram why is the right of way reversed from Left to Right at this station.

Could this have contributed to the confusion.

Also the there seems to be a spate of accidents in Eastern/North Eastern sectors recently.
Wonder if there is an underlying reason or it is just a quirk.



Generally , trains run on the left of the track, not that it makes much difference. Driver can't steer it.
However , receiving station can take train on any platform, priority being through line then loop line. then opposite loop line. Normally opposite through line is kept clear. It would not make any difference had they followed the Block and Lock system.

At sainthia , train would be moving to right track to move onto Asansol link line which is single track turning right. It would have to face intermediate route signal for being taken on that line and passed its control from HTC to Asansol Traffic Contoller.

From the picture of accident, it appeared to me that train was on extreme right. What is not clear why Uttarbanga was taken on the same track. Whether other platforms were also occupied and only Vanachal was leaving and making it available to receive incoming train? May be there would be goods train on other lines. Area is a coal belt.

This comes under Eastern Railway. The area is full of tracks meant for goods trains and now several passenger trains have been introduced. Remember, Malda is a nearby town and major station. It has given railway minister. Bengal and Bihar have given several railway ministers and more trains have been introduced. This causes stress on traffic /operations staff and on track . railways have not invested in safety system up to desired level. Staff resort to shortcuts and of course illegal loading unloading takes place. All this become contributory factors and some times lead to accidents.

In some areas derailing takes place even at 20-30 kmph, of course without casualty.Eastern Railway is one of the oldest and is creaking at its seams.But Sainthia is a case of gross negligence.

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Re: Indian Railways Thread

Postby chaanakya » 24 Jul 2010 15:57

Sainthia duo own up to diversion ‘mistake’

Calcutta, July 23: The two “booked off” officials at Sainthia station have admitted that they had not applied the interlocking system that could have diverted the speeding Uttar Banga Express and prevented the July 19 tragedy, a railway source said today.

The cabin operator and the assistant station manager were on duty when the Uttar Banga Express rammed into the Vananchal Express, killing 62 people.

“They had committed a mistake by not applying the system to divert the train to another track. They have admitted their mistake in front of the inquiry committee. They have already been temporarily taken off duty,” the source said.

Today, CID officials probing the tragedy said they had found a broken brake-shoe beside the tracks near Mayurakshi bridge, which the Uttar Banga Express had crossed before hurtling into Sainthia station. The bridge is 1km from the station.

The sleuths are yet to ascertain whether the brake-shoe had split off the wheels of the Uttar Banga Express.

“Experts from the forensic department will examine the brakes of the Uttar Banga Express to ascertain whether the drivers had applied them to try and bring the train to a halt.

They will also examine whether the brakes were functioning properly,”
a CID officer said.

Railway officials, however, said one brake-shoe falling off would not have “created any problem”.

“Each coach has eight pairs of wheels with one brake-shoe for each wheel. If one of the 16 brake-shoes fall off, it won’t affect the braking system,” a railway official said.

The post-mortem report of the two drivers of Uttar Banga Express has confirmed that they were not drunk.

The police are also waiting for the viscera report of the two drivers. The report will reveal whether they had been drugged.

Theo_Fidel

Re: Indian Railways Thread

Postby Theo_Fidel » 24 Jul 2010 20:15

Thanx.

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Re: Indian Railways Thread

Postby SSridhar » 28 Jul 2010 17:51

Chaanakya, thanks for the details.

The question that still remains is why was Uttarbanga travelling at twice or thrice the max. speed.

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Re: Indian Railways Thread

Postby SSridhar » 31 Jul 2010 08:10

The world's oldest steam loco to chug again

The world's oldest steam locomotive is all set to chug again and thrill train lovers in a Heritage Run planned in Chennai soon. The 155-year-old ‘Express Loco' built by Kitson Thomson and Hewitson Leeds, United Kingdom, was used in the erstwhile East Indian Railway till 1909.

Thereafter, it remained parked in Jamalpur and Howrah as a piece of exhibit for over 100 years. The ‘Express Loco' is older than the ‘Fairy Queen'. The two locomotives have the history of hauling trains of troops from Howrah to Raneegunge to quash the uprisings in the 1857 mutiny.

The ‘Express Loco' christened ‘EIR 21' was brought by road to the Perambur Loco Works four months ago. A special team headed by the Southern Railway Chief Mechanical Engineer V. Carmelus took up the challenge of reviving the lost glory.

The 130-horse power locomotive was dismantled for undertaking corrosion repairs. Experts from the Goldenrock Workshop, Tiruchi, Integral Coach Factory, Chennai and Perambur Carriage Works were roped in to rehabilitate the world's oldest locomotive.

“The only major replacement was the injector. We have introduced air brakes as the vacuum braking system is not in vogue. The steam-fired locomotive can haul at least four coaches comfortably,” Mr. Carmelus, who flagged off a trial run at the Perambur Loco Works on Thursday, told The Hindu.

Royapuram to Avadi

The Heritage Run is planned between Royapuram, the oldest railway station building in Southern Railway, and Avadi. “Depending upon the response, we may consider operating the Heritage Run at periodic intervals. It is a matter of pride for us…I am sure children and many youths who have not seen or enjoyed travelling in trains hauled by steam engines will love to be part of the Heritage Run,” Mr. Carmelus said.

He said the ‘Fairy Queen' numbered ‘EIR 22' that was stationed at the National Rail Museum in New Delhi was also revived by the Perambur Loco Works in 1996. The next year, it started hauling tourist trains between New Delhi and Alwar.

Explaining the salient features of ‘Express Loco', Mr. Carmelus said it had a coal capacity of one tonne and two water tanks of 3,000 litres capacity each.

The total weight of the locomotive is 40 tonnes and it can run at a maximum speed of 40 kmph.


Image
Photo Courtesy: The Hindu

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Re: Indian Railways Thread

Postby chaanakya » 31 Jul 2010 09:33

SSridhar wrote:Chaanakya, thanks for the details.

The question that still remains is why was Uttarbanga travelling at twice or thrice the max. speed.

exactly my thoughts.

Meanwhile guard of Uttar banga says he applied EM Brakes which failed. He had tried to raise the drivers on walkie talkie.
It looks like <speculation> both drivers were somehow incapacitated and train was put on full throttle and third person got off as train started from previous station</speculation>
The guard of the killer Uttarbanga Express, Somnath Sengupta, has said that he had applied the runaway train’s emergency brake after the driver did not respond to him on the walkie-talkie. But the brake failed and the speeding train rammed into the Vananchal Express at Sainthia station on Monday,
killing 61 people.

“After getting no response from the driver’s cabin, I pulled the emergency brake – but it didn’t work,” said Sengupta after an 80-minute interrogation by railway officials at the Sainthia station in Bengal’s Birbhum district on Wednesday.

Sengupta is the key witness in the collision, which is shrouded in mystery as the Uttarbanga Express hurtled down the Sainthia station’s Platform No. 4 at a speed close to 90 kmph before crashing into the stationary Vananchal Express.

The driver and his assistant didn’t respond to red signals and calls from the station manager who tried to stop the train.

Besides, the killer train was not diverted to another line, which former locomotive drivers have told HT is mandatory in such a scenario.


However SM of Sainthia had failed to observe procedure to divert train to a loop line, which is standard precaution. We have to thank the overbridge which prevented further impact down the vanachal bogies as one of the bogies had jumped and rammed into it inflicting more casualty in that bogie ( 2nd class)

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Re: Indian Railways Thread

Postby SSridhar » 05 Aug 2010 07:36

Slowly runs the goods train
Excerpts
Image
In general, there are three reasons why the goods train in India runs slowly: One, given the trailing load of cargo, which is often twice that of a typical passenger train, the locomotives cannot accelerate or cruise fast; two, some types of wagons such as those that carry coal or petroleum are themselves not designed for great speed; and three, as a consequence of their sloth, goods trains are necessarily sidelined at wayside stations to allow the passenger trains, which have priority, to pass.

The idling time further pulls down their average speed for the journey. In effect, goods trains can manage no more than 25 kmph on the average, according to a report recently prepared by the global consulting firm McKinsey.

Just like traffic on a narrow road slows down even if there is one slow moving vehicle, the slower moving trains block the overall capacity.

The irony is that freight which brings in the majority of the revenue for the Railways and clearly almost all its profits does not get the priority of movement. Passengers can complain of delays, goods of course do not.

It is evident who or which gets preferential treatment at the signal, but the effect of this neglect of the freight segment has been telling. The Railways' share of goods moved across the country has been reducing over the years, and is expected to fall further from 36 per cent currently to 25 per cent.

Why is this crucial from a national standpoint? Transportation by train is three times as fuel-efficient as by road. Consequently, carbon emissions are also lower: 28g per tonne-km on the rail compared with 84g per tonne-km on the road.

If the Railways do not regain their lost market share, the McKinsey study predicts that the loss to the country on account of the sub-optimal logistics will rise from the equivalent of $45 billion, or 4.3 per cent of GDP to $140 billon or more than 5 per cent of GDP in 2020.

Finally, faster transit is what customers want. Should not the Railways be granting them that wish?

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Re: Indian Railways Thread

Postby Christopher Sidor » 05 Aug 2010 16:28

The future of railways is maglev. Not the current system that we have. Air-travel will make passenger train travel, in India, all but obsolete in the next 10-20 years. For example it takes 2 hours to fly from delhi to bombay. This is the best case scenario. In case of trains, the best journey case scenario is 16:05 hrs.
The problem with Maglev is that it is too expensive to built and operate currently. In 10-20 years time, maybe the cost will come down. But by that time, air travel would have over taken train travel. Moreover the return, on maglev, will not be justified if it is used only for passenger services. Maglev will have to be used for freight also. In fact it will have to be designed around freight, with passenger services as a add-on, if it has to be made viable.

But there is a intrinsic drawback to passenger train travel compared to air travel. Air travel is, due to its nature, point to point. If we are traveling on delhi-bombay sector there will not be any stops in the middle. But in case of train travel, whether maglev or non-maglev, there will have to be stops at Kota and Vadodara. You see even durontoo express cannot run non-stop between pune-delhi or bombay-delhi. It is the nature of the transportation. That is why in real life, even with maglev, the journey time will be less compared to air travel.

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Re: Indian Railways Thread

Postby Hitesh » 06 Aug 2010 06:13

Only if that was true, then we would have seen the demise of passenger train services in Europe. But no, the passenger train services are thriving in Western Europe and making profits. More people travel by train than by air, and they don't use maglev technology. The key is efficiency. Indian Railways are inefficient compared to the train services in Europe.

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Re: Indian Railways Thread

Postby Christopher Sidor » 06 Aug 2010 11:45

Hitesh wrote:Only if that was true, then we would have seen the demise of passenger train services in Europe. But no, the passenger train services are thriving in Western Europe and making profits. More people travel by train than by air, and they don't use maglev technology. The key is efficiency. Indian Railways are inefficient compared to the train services in Europe.


Europeans heavily subsidize their train travel. Ditto for Japenese. The Japenese had to break up their Railway network into smaller companies during the late 1980s due to the cost of constructing Bullet trains.
"The San'yo Shinkansen (high-speed line) was opened in 1975 after a recession in the early 1970s was already having a negative effect on JNR (Japanese National Railways) revenues. If the JNR accounting system had not taken depreciation costs into effect, it would not have had a negative balance sheet in the 1960s, but its 1971 figures showed a deficit even before depreciation. It was around this time that the accumulating debts began putting tremendous pressure on the national railway network."
Source = http://www.jrtr.net/jrtr22/F23_Kakumoto.html

In India, the situation is eerily similar to 1970-80s Japan, as far as railways is considered. High population density coupled with bad political mismanagement. In India the passenger rail service is sustained by earnings from freight and from government budgetary support. Moreover High speed wheeled rail does not coexist with railway freight transport. They require separate tracks. Maybe India can experiment with high speed railway track, which carries both freight and high speed passenger services, but the hurdles in this case will be massive. India is one of the few countries which is building dedicated rail freight corridors.

A High Speed wheeled Rail, like TGV or Bullet train of japan, should have a one way journey time of around 4 to 5 hours to be competitive with respect to air travel. Let us take the example of Delhi-Bombay or Delhi-Calcutta. The distance is approximately 1400 Kms, If we take the journey time of 4 hours the average speed comes out to be 350 kmph. Please note that this is the average speed not the max speed. For achieving an average speed of 350 kmph, the max speed will have to be in excess of 350 kmph. The reason being high speed rail cannot be point-to-point. It will service intermediate stations also. So time taken to slow down the train, stoppage timings, time taken to accelerate also have to be factored in. Now with a economic growth of 8% pa the number of people, willing to spend over 6-7 hours in a train whereas competitive transport offers something like 2:30 hours of journey time, is diminishing.

So High speed wheeled rail to link our 4 metro cities or the vast distances, in India, is not feasible. The cost of construction, maintenance of tracks and rolling stocks, depreciation just will not wash.

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Re: Indian Railways Thread

Postby Raja » 06 Aug 2010 16:47

Christopher Sidor wrote:For example it takes 2 hours to fly from delhi to bombay. This is the best case scenario. In case of trains, the best journey case scenario is 16:05 hrs.


When you include the amount of time you need to spend at the airport (security, check in times, fact that airports are usually outside of the city unlike railway stations etc.) the difference is not that stark. Not to mention, this extra fluff time will only increase as air traffic gains significance.

Flying from Amsterdam to London - the actual flight time is about 60 minutes but the airport times (getting in, getting out) can have a multiplier of 4 to 5.

Not to mention, when you are not flying to a hub - you will more often than not have to change planes. Suddenly, it is not so rosy anymore. There is a good reason why trains exist in Europe, despite the presence of superior budget airlines (compared to USA). Trains will continue to play an important role for passenger transportation in India, unless we make the same mistakes as USA.

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Re: Indian Railways Thread

Postby SSridhar » 08 Aug 2010 08:49

Jolarpet-Hosur Rail Link
The long-pending rail link project between Jolarpet and Hosur has been sent to the Central Government for clearance, it was confirmed by a Railway Board official recently.


The above means that the Railway Board has cleared the project. This is good news. This will cut down travel time between Chennai & Bangalore. A new road alignment is also being planned the same way. The impetus for all these is coming from the Japanese who want to have an industrial corridor between Chennai & Bangalore.

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Re: Indian Railways Thread

Postby Sachin » 08 Aug 2010 13:12

4 People killed at an un-manned level crossing in Mararikulam, Alappuzha Dt., Kerala when a train rammed into their car. Among the dead are two tourists who are Dutch German nationals (Mathrubhumi: English).

This seems to be a clear case of negilgence by the taxi car driver, who tried to take a short cut. This crossing was on a curve when neither the train drivers or the car driver can see each other approaching. The whole area between Alappuzha and Kochi on the coastal railway line seems to have lots of unmanned crossings. Two days back I read in the news paper that a school van was about to be rammed by a train. The van driver had panicked when he saw the train approaching and the vehicle got switched off. Luckily there was a caution order in place because of some maintenance work and the train was approaching at reduced speed. The train stopped 30 mts away from the school van. The driver of the express train was thanking his Gods, because in the same spot a train had rammed into a car ferrying members of a marriage party 5 years back. The driver was an assistant driver then.

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Re: Indian Railways Thread

Postby SSridhar » 09 Aug 2010 04:49

New Rail links in the North East
The Meghalaya Government recently approved a proposal for a railway link to Shillong. This would be an extension of the Azra (Assam)-Byrnihat (Meghalaya) broad-gauge project, which has been declared a national project.

The proposed line will pass through Byrnihat, Sohkwai, Lailad, Nongpoh, Mawlyndep, Umtasor, Nongsder, Kyr demkulai and Umroi before ending at Mawdiangdiang on the outskirts of Shillong, covering 108.4 km amid hilly, undulating terrain.

The cost is estimated at more than Rs 4,000 crore. The proposal will be sent to the Railway Ministry for approval, it is learnt. The 30-km Azra-Byrnihat broad-gauge project is estimated to cost Rs 200 crore. In 2007-08, Rs one crore was sanctioned for it.

Meanwhile, Ircon has signed an MoU with Northeast Frontier Railway for construction of a line between Sevoke (WB) and Rangpo (Sikkim) covering 45 km. The estimated cost is more than Rs 3,300 crore.

The project will take at least five years to complete as there will be 14 tunnels and more than 20 bridges.

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Re: Indian Railways Thread

Postby Dileep » 09 Aug 2010 11:17

Sachin, the track is straight there. See Wikimapia Most probably, the taxi guy didn't look before he crossed.

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Re: Indian Railways Thread

Postby Sachin » 09 Aug 2010 14:26

Dileep wrote:Most probably, the taxi guy didn't look before he crossed.

The funny part is that the first question the journalists asked E.Ahamed (the Railway Min for State) is whether the relatives of the dead would receive any compensation :roll:. E Ahamed firmly ruled out that possibility. Some times it sickens me to see people trying to make a quick buck, given an oppurtunity (how ever tragic it was).

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Re: Indian Railways Thread

Postby Christopher Sidor » 09 Aug 2010 21:31

Raja wrote:
Christopher Sidor wrote:For example it takes 2 hours to fly from delhi to bombay. This is the best case scenario. In case of trains, the best journey case scenario is 16:05 hrs.


When you include the amount of time you need to spend at the airport (security, check in times, fact that airports are usually outside of the city unlike railway stations etc.) the difference is not that stark. Not to mention, this extra fluff time will only increase as air traffic gains significance.
.....
.....
.....
Trains will continue to play an important role for passenger transportation in India, unless we make the same mistakes as USA.


Raja ji, even if you factor in two hours for check in, security, etc for both the departure and arrival, then also the time between delhi-bombay will be 6 hours. Compare this to 16:05 hours which a rajdhani takes. Forget this, a chennai-ahmedabad journey via train, i.e. navjeevan express, is about 36 hours or 2 whole days one way. Why two whole days, because the train starts at 9:00 AM IST on day 1 and reaches the next day around 8:00 PM IST. And if you are going to jaipur or jodhpur or amristar then it is even more. The flight between ahmedabad-chennai is just some 3-4 hrs long. Similar is the case of many a train journey. That is why a rational person, if he can afford it, will take a flight and not train. Currently in India railways are preferred mode for long distance passanger transportation because of the cost and we Indians place a premium on price/cost over time. As we get more affluent, this will change. We will place more emphasis on time rather than price/cost.

In US geography killed the railways and not some mistakes in policy as being alluded. US is a huge country. It is the fourth largest country in size. Its population density is dissimilar to europe or japan or india. Its population and commercial centres are wide apart. Imagine Huston-new york or huston-vancover or los angles - florida or san franciso to washington dc or st. louis to anchorage. If it wants to build a high speed passenger rail connecting, its major population and commercial, then it is not economically feasible nor will the reduction in time, justify the cost.

That is why railways should orient themselves for carrying more freight. Indian Railways should aim for transporting some 65-75% of our entire goods transported, (via road ,air and water) on its network. The cost savings, in amount of fuel burnt and other factors will be huge. Indian Railways should not be concentrating on passenger travel. Dedicated freight corridors is a good way forward, and should be further extended to west-south, south - east, east-west and north -south.

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Re: Indian Railways Thread

Postby Raja » 10 Aug 2010 17:55

1) Check/security times are *atleast* two hours. Factor in traveling to the airport - not everyone is going to be hopping in straight from central Bombay or Delhi. Hub airports usually serve a distance of at least 3 hours travel time around it. A train system, on other hand, can actually have number of stops in the way so that not everyone has to get to a single airport.

2) You are happy to drum up the US model for India. However, I would think that EU is lot closer to India geographically and population wise than USA. Passenger trains remain prevalent in most of EU, despite some of the highest per capita around.

3) Air travel will remain out of reach for a significant percentage of the population for several decades. It is in the interest of the Indian Union that all of its citizens have access to means of transportation to any corner of the country.

4) I think this is largely a pointless argument. I highly doubt that air option can replace trains or other way around. There is definitely room (and need) for both systems. Lack of a train option will chiefly boost car travel more than anything else. Even in USA, I know plenty of people who have never flown and normally use cars to make 9-12 hour journeys. So, your argument that geography killed the trains in USA is not on solid grounds as plenty of people happily make 1-2 day car journeys in USA.

5) A railway network that is planned in an efficient manner is going to be environmentally friendlier than other popular means of travelling.

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Re: Indian Railways Thread

Postby Sachin » 10 Aug 2010 21:08

^^^ Agree with the points raised by Raja. What I have heard is that in US rail-road was deliberately "killed" (if I can use that word) so that more cars would be on the roads and the car manufacturers would have a field day. India should never follow the US in this regards and should continue to have a railway network. What we should try to follow Europe when it comes to modernising trains and the rail network. A large number of people in India would still prefer (or be in a financial position) to use the trains.
Eg:
1. For me if I am to go home by flight. Catch a bus/book a taxi and proceed to the nearest airport which is around 70kms away. Ensure that I am there within 1-2 hours before departure. Board the flight, be on air for around 1 hour and 45 minutes. Land up at the target airport which is again 70kms away. Catch a taxi or ask some one from my home town to pick me up. Same for the return journey as well ;).
2. Leave home at late afternoon (or late evening based on the train I choose), by bus. The nearest RS is a Junction station around 40kms away, or I can choose another train which stops at a station 20kms away. Reach around 30 mins before hand, walk to the nearest bar have my regular quota and board the train. Sleep well through the night, and reach my home town right in the morning (between 7 and 8AM). Pay the auto rickshaw Rs.15 and I am at my home.

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Re: Indian Railways Thread

Postby putnanja » 10 Aug 2010 22:35

India and EU have dense population network almost throughout the region. That is not the case in US where population density is pretty less and there is lots of open uninhabited areas for hundreds of miles together. If you travel from coast to coast in US, you will see plenty of almost uninhabited areas for miles together. It is not the same in India where you have thickly populated areas less than 100kms apart from each other. So trains do serve a major purpose.

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Re: Indian Railways Thread

Postby Suraj » 11 Aug 2010 04:24

I haven't heard about this project before. 12000hp is a lot - twice the current most powerful WAG9 locos, and 5x that of the standard workhorse WDM2s. They would be among the world's most powerful locos; the current peak being 12-13000hp:
GE, Siemens, Alstom, Bombardier compete for locomotive plant
Leading manufacturers of railway rolling stock like GE, Siemens, Alstom and Bombardier have been shortlisted for setting up a Rs 1,960-crore electric locomotive manufacturing unit at Madhepura in Bihar.

The facility, to come up on the public-private-partnership (PPP) mode, will roll out 120 IGBT (insulated gate bipolar transistor) electric locos of 12,000 horse power every year.

“GE, Siemens, Alstom and Bombardier have been selected for the first stage of bidding to set up the factory at Madhepura. We expect the project to be awarded by the end of the year,” said a senior GE executive on condition of anonymity.

Railway officials said efforts were on to expedite the bidding process so that the unit could become operational in three years.

At the same time, they are considering applications for setting up a diesel locomotive manufacturing unit at Marhowrah, also in Bihar’s Chhapra district. The railway ministry expects the Rs 2,720-crore unit will manufacture 130 diesel locomotives every year.

The overall investment envisaged for setting up both the facilities and manufacturing rolling stock units at Madhepura and Marhowrah is estimated to be Rs 29,000 crore. The ministry would procure 1,000 units each of electric and diesel locomotives from the two facilities over an eight-year period.

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Re: Indian Railways Thread

Postby manju » 11 Aug 2010 07:56

I used to travel quite often this route

Bengalooru Vijayawada ... some timelines

Bengalooru to Vijayawada (dist ? ~650 kms)

..................................Bus ____Air
Taxi to.........................0.50____ 0.75
waiting........................0.25____ 2.00
actual travel..................12,00____ 2.00
local taxi time...............0.25 ____0.75
Tota Time (Hrs)..............13.00____ 5.50

.. But the catch is if you take the bus departure is at 7 pm and you arrive at 7 am and the buses/roads are pretty good that you are fairly fresth next day and will be ready for work after nice bath and good nastha

If you take the flight.. the only flight is at 10 am .. so you leave home at 7 30 am and reach your hotel 2 pm.. another 1 hour to get ready .. it is 3 pm before you get ready for any work..

Off course, then there is the cost of ticket..

The logistics are much more in favor of bus/train for shorter routes (250-400 kms)

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Re: Indian Railways Thread

Postby Sachin » 11 Aug 2010 09:28

manju wrote:The logistics are much more in favor of bus/train for shorter routes (250-400 kms)

Exactly my point. The points I mentioned is also about 500kms apart. The trains generally leave late in the evenings, and reach early morning. And as a normal human being who wishes to sleep through the night, this is the most comfortable option (though I feel proud of the IR, where numerous drivers, SMs, guards & gang men are working through out the night).

Off course thanks to economy boom etc., many people do opt for flights when the distance to cover is really huge (say Bengaluru to Delhi or Kolkotha). But most of the people can afford the prices, or their company pays for the ticket. People who choose rail travel (2-3 days) are most likely those who can get so many leaves for the travel, and I have noticed that their job structure allows them to take a more leisuerly pace.

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Re: Indian Railways Thread

Postby SSridhar » 12 Aug 2010 10:35

New Electric Locomotive developed
The Chittaranjan Locomotive Works (CLW) has developed a new class of electric locomotive WAP-7, known as the Head on Generation (HOG), which would supply electrical power for its air-conditioned coaches.

This technological innovation by the production unit of the Ministry of Railways will be of use to long-distance air-conditioned trains such as Duronto, Rajdhani and Shatabdi, which are attached with two separate diesel generator power cars to provide electricity for air-conditioning, lighting and charging points of all coaches. HOG will replace these power generator cars, releasing space for commercial use and eliminating noise and air pollution.

The new locomotive equipped with 1,000 kV load converter is said to be more economical than the diesel generator power cars. The three-phase HOG loco is considered as highly energy-efficient, generating about 12 to 15 per cent of energy.

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Re: Indian Railways Thread

Postby SSridhar » 14 Aug 2010 10:37

US Diesel Electric Locomotive Manufacturer bets big on India
The Chicago-based Electro Motive Diesel, the world's largest builder of diesel electric locomotive, is bullish on the prospects in the Indian market.

“India is our most dynamic market anywhere in the world. It is my belief that outside of North America, India market is our largest. Our business turnover has almost doubled.

The company, which already has a tie-up with Diesel Electromotive Works (DLW) Varanasi, plans to participate in the public-private partnership project of the Indian Government for setting up a manufacturing facility.

Officials indicated that the company could also explore more options such as assembly of sub-systems and sub-component manufacture.

When asked whether EMD's new partners – Progress Rail and Caterpillars — who had come on board recently also shared the optimism about the Indian market. Mr Hamilton said: “It is hard to find any industrial company that is not as optimistic about India especially one like Caterpillar that has an infrastructure business. We expect to be well supported in our strategies for India by our new partners.”

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Re: Indian Railways Thread

Postby SSridhar » 16 Aug 2010 07:46

Smetime back, I had posted the restoration of the oldest steam locomotive. Yesterday, it hauled two coaches on a nostalgic run.

When the ‘Express Loco' steam locomotive made its maiden journey in 1855 on the 121-mile line between Howrah and Raneegunge, the British were firmly at the helm of power in India, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was not born then and Indian Independence was a faraway dream.

While time seems to have had a toll on everything on the face of the planet, it seems to have left the oldest running locomotive in the world, christened ‘EIR 21', untouched.

Built by Kitson Thomson and Hewitson Leeds, United Kingdom, the locomotive was used in the erstwhile East Indian Railway till 1909. After 101 years at a workshop in Jamalpur, Bihar, the locomotive came back to life during a heritage run between Chennai Central and Avadi on Sunday.

Chugging smoothly and effortlessly, belching out heavy plumes of smoke, the locomotive stood for something larger than heritage. The locomotive, which was used to ferry British troops to quell the great Indian mutiny of 1857, recreated a slice of the past to mark the country's Independence Day.

However, for Sunday's heritage run, only a few officials got a chance to travel, as they feared the engine did not have “enough pulling power.”

The heritage run was flagged off from Chennai Central at 11 a.m. Enthusiastic crowds greeted the train all along the way – from Basin Bridge to Avadi. Though steam engine is no longer used in locomotion, the undying romance of steam traction brought in a huge number of curious onlookers, said a senior Railway official. He added that the locomotive might make a special appearance in Delhi during the Commonwealth Games.

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Re: Indian Railways Thread

Postby Sachin » 18 Aug 2010 09:51

Mathrubhumi one of the leading dailys in Malayalam is now having a feature which talks about the acute staff shortage in Indian Railways (folks who can read Malayalam can read it here)

It seems the train drivers are having a tough time, with strict disciplinary rules adding to the harassment. A driver was asked to produce the death certificate of his father so that his leave can be sanctioned. He had to return home immideatly after his duty turn, so could not apply for a formal leave (his father had expired). The report also cites another example when the railway divisional office purposefully with held the information that a driver's father was dead. He was on duty and they only told him at the end of the duty. Mean while the cremation etc. were over.

The above can be called as standard whining, but it seems the railway authorities are ignoring some of the recommendations from Railway's own Research and Standard Organisation. The organisation recommended the duty turns to happen between 2AM and 6AM because most of the accidents were happening at this time slot. A fresh crew joining duty at this time may have helped in accident reduction. When summer specials, winter specials etc. are introduced the current set of drivers are asked to work extra turns.

As per the report in Southern Railway there is a shortage of 512 engine drivers and their slots are now lying vacant. The railway procedure is to keep 30% of the driver strength on reserve. Every three year they are also supposed to go for refresher courses. It is after these referesher courses that the driver's competency is rechecked and new certificates issued. Thanks to driver shortage none of these are happening now.

The article concludes that even though these are the problem areas when an accident happens it is only the staff in the lower rungs (gate keepers, gang men, station masters and engine drivers) who are blamed, and disciplinary action initated against them.

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Re: Indian Railways Thread

Postby SBajwa » 18 Aug 2010 19:34

Agree with the points raised by Raja. What I have heard is that in US rail-road was deliberately "killed" (if I can use that word) so that more cars would be on the roads and the car manufacturers would have a field day.


Not killed!! USA was integrated by Railways!! as East coast people moved towards west coast and added new states., it was all done over Railways. That continued for over 100+ years. The in 1930s stock market crashed and President Roosevalt had lots of funding for highway. World war II got this highway creation pushed back., which got one of the US generals named Dwight Eisenhower leading forces in Germany. He got impressed by the Autobahn system of Germany. Later when he became President he pushed for the highway system.

The US highway system is actually called Dwight Eisenhower Highway system.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interstate_Highway_System

India does not have an option to follow Eisenhower system of highways due to land, population, etc issues.

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Re: Indian Railways Thread

Postby Theo_Fidel » 18 Aug 2010 20:50

The Fairy Queen

Image

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Re: Indian Railways Thread

Postby SSridhar » 23 Aug 2010 05:54

Economics of Container Trains
Image

The opening up of the container train operations space by the Indian Railways in 2007 — which resulted in the entry of 15 new players apart from Concor — has not had the desired effect.

While introduction of competition has resulted in the overall growth of the market to some extent — particularly in the domestic container train operations segment — bottlenecks in certain segments still remain.

To start with, for this market to function smoothly, there are a few prerequisites. They include capacity creation in rail tracks, terminals and rolling stock.

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Re: Indian Railways Thread

Postby SSridhar » 23 Aug 2010 12:18

Collision averted in West Bengal
A major train accident was averted at Sankrail station in West Bengal's Howrah district on Sunday as two trains coming in opposite directions on the same line stopped just short of a collision. The incident that occurred about a month after the July 19 train collision at Sainthia that claimed over 60 lives was followed by violent protests at Sankrail station with passengers vandalising the Station Master's cabin and damaging the signalling equipment.

Around 3.20 p.m., Howrah-bound East Coast Express from Hyderabad and a local train found themselves on the same track at the station. The trains had come within 200 metres of each other before they came to a halt, said Soumitra Majumdar, Chief Public Relations Officer of South Eastern Railway. The station had three lines, of which one had a reversible signalling system where both up and down trains can pass.

“The signal had been so arranged that the two trains were to have passed through different lines. The local train was supposed to have waited outside Sankrail station and after it stopped, East Coast Express would have crossed over to the down line,” Mr. Majumdar said.

Prima facie it appeared that the driver of the local train, R. Khan, “overshot the passing at danger signal,” Mr. Majumdar said.

After the trains stopped, Mr. Khan tried to take the train back. He has been suspended.

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Re: Indian Railways Thread

Postby Theo_Fidel » 23 Aug 2010 22:04

The dedicated freight corridor has completely collapsed.
IMHO one of our most critical projects and other than PMO no one seems to care.

This alone tarnishes Mamata in my eyes, and this from some one who has defended JJ Amma in the past.

http://www.financialexpress.com/news/Ra ... cr/661051/
Railways planned to build the corridor, which is pegged to ease freight movement and contribute to the industrial development of the country at Rs 28,000 crore.

However, the cost has now increased to nearly Rs 73,000 crore, according to officials of Dedicated Freight Corridor of India (DFCCIL). DFCCIL is a special purpose vehicle (SPV) created by railways to develop the corridor by financial year 2016-17. “The total cost of the project, excluding cost of land, is estimated at Rs 68,000 crore. The land would cost another Rs 5,000 crore,” a senior official of DFCCIL said.



Even as DFCCIL expects the cost to rise to Rs 73,000 crore, the Planning Commission thinks the project could consume Rs 1 lakh crore by the time it is complete. The commission has asked railways to prepare a new funding plan for the project as the increased costs would create pressure on railway finances and DFCCIL may require to borrow more. The project is to be developed through loans from Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and World Bank, and equity from Indian Railways in the ratio of 2:1.

DFCCIL has secured most of the loan till the second phase of western corridor, which traverses from Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust in Maharashtra to Dadri in Uttar Pradesh. The process is on to get funds for eastern corridor that goes from Bihar to Punjab. Land acquisition is in progress.

The project was planned with two segments—western and eastern. Later four more segments were added. These are East West Corridor (Kolkata-Mumbai), North South Corridor (Delhi-Chennai), East Coast Corridor (Kharagpur-Vijayawada) and Southern Corridor (Goa-Chennai).

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Re: Indian Railways Thread

Postby Murugan » 27 Aug 2010 14:15

Success Despite Government

BALWANTPURA-CHAILASI: This small halt station of Balwantpura-Chailasi in the Shekhawati region never looks up to Indian Railways for day-to-day maintenance. Nor does it throw up fancy wish list to railway minister. It’s a model station built, owned and operated by the villagers themselves. It’s hard to believe that a village, which is devoid of even basic amenities, has a station to talk about. This is an example finance minister would like citizens of India to emulate.

A rare success story of community participation, this halt station celebrates the entrepreneurial spirit of Shekhawati — the land of Mittals, Birlas, Goenkas and Ruias {shame on these industrialists}.

Villagers of this nondescript hamlet had been voicing the need for a halt station since 1996. They did every possible thing to move the government — right from approaching local MP to the headquarter of railways, and also writing to railway minister. But it all fell on deaf ears.

Desperation for a halt station brought villagers of five panchayats together. They pooled in Rs 15 lakh and constructed halt station on their own. But constructing a halt station alone was not going to solve their problems. Stoppage of trains too was crucial. “Station without train-stoppage is just like a cart without a horse. Railways was not willing to stop trains and deploy staff at this small hamlet. We kept up the pressure, met every single authority requesting for a 2-minute stoppage of shuttle trains,” says Ramsukh Sharma, who was part of that delegation.

After a long drawn battle, in 2006, villagers finally succeeded in persuading railways to stop trains at the station. However, the authorities told villagers to manage and maintain the halt station with their own resources. “Railways don’t spend on any thing except the track maintenance. The management of the station is with villagers. Such initiatives can promote public partnership and help government cut expenditure and tame unsustainable deficits,” says northwestern railways DGM (general) and chief public relation officer Lalit Bohra.

At present, eight local trains stop at this station. But railways don’t have any ticket counter here. However, it does have other facilities like any other small station — drinking water, benches, toilets, etc. “Tickets are being sold by moving guards of trains. Now, railways are planning to appoint ticketing agent for this station,” Mr Bohra said.

This station is a picture of true Bharat. It has changed lives of many like 25-year old Rajendra Chaudhary. He had to walk 20 km every day to Nawalgarh to catch a train to Jaipur where he works in an electronic shop. Now he catches train from his own village reducing the travelling time. Like him, a person from every household is now working in Jaipur bringing back prosperity to the village.

The station is a boon for cancer patient Gamini Devi who too catches train from here to visit her doctor in Jaipur. “We want to set up an example for people who waste their time and energy cursing the government. We have the power. Do things on your own and let the government think that life can be better without them,” says 65-year-old Shyam Jangid who oversees the station management.

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Re: Indian Railways Thread

Postby manish » 27 Aug 2010 15:09

Theo_Fidel wrote:The dedicated freight corridor has completely collapsed.
IMHO one of our most critical projects and other than PMO no one seems to care.

This alone tarnishes Mamata in my eyes, and this from some one who has defended JJ Amma in the past.


Theo_Fidel saar, the surprising thing is that not many seem to care. The importance of a half-decent (I am not even attempting to throw words like world-class around here) rail cargo network cannot be stressed enough.

We are at a crucial juncture in our country's development and the sad state of IR network has been major dampener.

We needed DFCs 10 yrs ago. We badly, desperately need them today.


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