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Old June 30th, 2015, 06:20 PM   #18001
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$120 billion to be pumped in Indian railways in 5 years: Suresh Prabhu
PTI | Jun 30, 2015, 08.32 PM IST

A view of the India's first diesel electric multiple unit (DEMU) train service with air-conditioned coach in Kochi. (File Photo)
NEW DELHI: A whopping investment of USD 120 billion will be made in next five years in the cash-strapped railways which is in the process of upgradation and expansion, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu said on Tuesday.

He highlighted the challenges faced by railways like ticketless travelling and bad condition of toilets in trains and sought innovative ideas from the youth to address these, with a promise of awards for best among them.

Addressing a gathering of students and alumni from IITs and other premier institutes like National Law University and London School of Economics, he said the railways is facing many challenges which need to be addressed.

Railways needs massive investment for upgradation and expansion of its network, Prabhu said.

"There has been no investment in the railways for the last 20-25 years... There will be an investment of USD 120 billion in the next five years to catch up with the backlog," he said.

Requiring huge resources, the government has already decided to allow FDI in certain segments of the railways, like coach manufacturing, station development, suburban rail and high speed network.

"We have big challenges and we have to address them. But the question is how to do it," the Railway Minister said.

He referred to the malaise of ticketless travelling in trains which is a major problem that causes substantial losses to the national transporter, mostly in local and suburban trains.

"Train ticket is cheaper than other modes of transport. So travelling without tickets cannot be accepted," he said.

Northern Railways topped the chart in 2013-14, with more than 1.9 million people traveling without tickets or with improper tickets.

"Ticketless travel can be curbed. How to do it? Can you find a fool-proof solution to it? These are the challenges and the young minds can be engaged in addressing them. These are the day to day problems and we need solutions," Prabhu said.

Aiming at engaging students of the elite institutes, he also sought innovative ideas for improvement in facilities in the public transporter.

"Can we have odourless toilets without using water or ensuring less usage of water because water shortage is a problem and Railways is one of the biggest consumers of water?," he said.

In order to encourage innovative solutions, Railways will announce awards for the best idea put forward, he said.

Railways will come out with a new website to promote technology solution in Rail services. "We will create a technology portal shortly," Prabhu said.
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Old July 1st, 2015, 03:35 AM   #18002
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Gauge conversion evokes memories

Those were the days when Rameswaram-bound pilgrims flocked the Palakkad Town railway station waiting for the passenger train which would chug along the narrow route that connects southern Tamil Nadu with the then British Malabar. On its journey, the train also connected other pilgrim centres like Erwadi, Madurai and Palani with Palakkad. On its return journey, the train would carry flowers, vegetables, and fish from the eastern coast. The scent of jasmine flowers brought from Madurai would fill the air at the station when the train comes back.

“The memories about the narrow gauge are inspiring. Annual pilgrimages to Rameswaram and Palani were inseparable parts of our existence,” recalls social activist Arumugan Pathichira of Muthalamada.

With the much-awaited gauge conversion between Palakkad and Pollachi turning into a reality and the inspection of the converted stretch by Commissioner of Railway Safety (CRS) S. K. Mittal expected to take place soon, people of Palakkad are waiting eagerly for the resumption of the train services stopped seven years ago.

“We are excited about making the journey again on the same route,” says K.G. Kannadas of Govindapuram, who used to travel to Madurai in his childhood days in the passenger trains.

As being the railhead to travel to Rameswaram, the Palakkad Town station remains nostalgic not just for residents of the district but also for people from elsewhere. After the Palakkad-Pollachi stretch was closed down for widening, the station was used only to park Thiruvananthapuram-Palakkad Amrita Express during the day time.

According to railway authorities, the first train between Palakkad and Pollachi chugged along in 1898. The coal-powered trains used to carry goods between the two towns located at a

distance of 59 km. It was in 2008, the trains stopped their service after the gauge conversion was announced.

It had taken hardly two years for the Britishers to lay the narrow gauge and to build the stations. However, the conversion to broad gauge took more than seven years.

More services

There are indications that Thiruvananthapuram-Palakkad Amrita Express would be extended to Pollachi after the commissioning of the new broad-gauge route. Availability of sufficient pit lines at Pollachi station would help in extending the train up to Pollachi.

Railway sources have confirmed the operation of trains between Rameswaram and Palakkad connecting Madurai, Trichy and Palani.

“Before the train services were discontinued in this section in 2008, there were ten trains running in the section. Therefore, apart from these services, we need more trains in the section, The Pollachi-Tiruchendur train should be extended to Palakkad,” say E. Murugan, president of Kollengode Rail Passenger Association. The Madurai-Pollachi train can also be extended to Palakkad, he feels. Passenger associations here also hope that the Pollachi-Chennai Central train would be extended to Palakkad.
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Old July 1st, 2015, 07:35 AM   #18003
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Chennai Metro - Coverage by TNSTC Blog Team.

We deviated for the very first time in our 5 years history to cover a different mode of transport. Hope you all will like this.

Chennai Metro – New boy in town

Some pics from our post..

That first class where the fare is doubled..

Beauties at the depot..

Finaly, the dead end..
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Private buses:-
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Old Yesterday, 05:47 AM   #18004
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Doubling works gains pace after very slow period in Trichy as a part of Chengalpattu--Trichy--Dindigul Doubing--Crucial closing of T.V.Koil ROB to facilitate track laying works in the next 3 days

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Old Yesterday, 02:17 PM   #18005
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Two brand new twin cab diesel loco's were seen in CBE junction paired to around 18 coaches..I could not see the name on the coaches as it was about three tracks away.
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