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Shakuntala Railways: India’s only private railway line.

Shakuntala Railway, the only privately-owned railway line in India offering passenger services, may soon be a part of history. Then Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu has cleared a proposal to take over the narrow gauge line and convert it into broad gauge at an estimated cost of Rs 1,500 crore.
Shakuntala Railway covers a 188-km stretch from Yavatmal to Achalpur in Amaravati district of Maharashtra. The Central Province Railway Company (CPRC), or the Shakuntala Railway, was founded in 1910 by Killick Nixon, a British firm, mainly to transport cotton from the area.
The route was used to ferry cotton from Vidarbha for exporting. But even after the nationalisation of other private sector railway lines, Shakuntala Railway continued to be privately-owned.
According to the contract with CPRC, if the Indian government fails to acquire the line in 2016, it will only be able to acquire it a decade later.
The Indian Railways pays an annual usage fee of Rs 2-3 crore for running two passenger trains and few goods trains on these tracks to CPRC.
Earlier, the railways was not keen on taking over the loss-making line. As per the contract, major expenses above Rs 10,000 must be borne by the company. According to the railways, the rent of using the line was adjusted from the cost of repairs and maintenance. All other lines owned by CPRC got nationalised. Interestingly, even now all the rail signals are from the British era, with a “Made in Liverpool” tag.
According to Indian Railways, on an average, five wagons are booked from Achalpur station to transport goods such as cotton, dry chilly, timber, handloom cloth, rosha oil, coffee seeds, mangoes, guavas and oranges from the area.
Information Compiled by Vignesh ( https://www.instagram.com/chwhaan/?hl=en)
Picture courtesy : Railfan Roopesh Kohad/ Google.

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रेलवे का स्लिपर क्लास

चार महीने पहले, लम्बी कतारोमे, धक्के खाते, आरक्षण कन्फर्म करवा के आखिर वो यात्रा की शुभ घड़ी आ ही गई थी की हम इलाहाबाद के कुम्भ स्नान का पुण्य अपने गांठ बांध लें।

गाड़ी पुणे स्टेशन से दोपहर सवा चार बजे छुटने वाली थी। तीर्थयात्रा जाना था, बड़े बूढ़े कहते है बारवास में सकून देखना चाहिए पैसे नही, तो कैब बुलवा ली और पहुंच गए स्टेशन। हालाँकि कुम्भ में शाहीस्नान के पर्व की तिथि तो नही थी पर पुणे स्टेशन की भीड़ देख कर ऐसा लग रहा था, जैसे सभी को हमारे साथ ही पूण्य अर्जित करने की सूझी है।

पौने चार बजे गाड़ी स्टेशनपर लगी, तो क्या जनरल डिब्बे और क्या आरक्षित शयनयान डिब्बे। भीड़ तो ऐसे उमड़ी की जैसे लंगर लगा हो। हम भी हो लिए, हमारे डिब्बे एस 4 की ओर। बड़ी जद्दोजहद के बाद डिब्बे में घूंसे, अपने बर्थ तक पहुँचे, तो हमारी दोनोंही लोअर बर्थ पर 6 – 6 लोग पहलेसे ही जमे थे। अब वार्तालाप देखिए, हमने कहा, “भाई यह हमारे रिजर्वेशन है, हमे बैठने दीजिए।” अपने पाँव मोड़ कर के, आगे पीछे खिसक के, सलाह मिली, “लीजिए, आप बैठ जाइए। रिजर्वेशन टिकट तो हमारे भी है, बस कन्फर्म नही हुए वेटिंग में है।” अब पूरी डिब्बे की भीड़ के सामने हम विलेन बने, ” ये सिट मुझे दे दे ठाकुर” वाली स्टाईल में गब्बर की तरह दिखाई दे रहे थे और सैंकड़ों जय, वीरू और बसंतियाँ हमे घूर रही थी। जाना तो सभी को इलाहाबाद, वाराणसी। खैर! अब शुरू हुआ एडजस्टमेंट वाला खेल। गाड़ी चल पड़ी तो थोड़े सरको, जरा खिसको, थोड़ा बैठो और सेट हो जाओ।

गाड़ी चले, 4 घंटे हो चुके थे। टिटी साहब का कोई अतापता नही था। हमें भरोसा था, बाबूजी आएंगे और बिना रिजर्वेशन वालोंसे हमारी जगह ख़ाली करवा देंगे। अब तो हमारी बेगम भी हमे अपनी आंखें दिखाने लग गई थी। शाम ढलते ढलते, वैसी ही भीड़भाड़ मे हमने अपना टिफिन निकाला और खाना खा लिए। रात के 10 बज गए, ” भाई, अब हम सोएंगे, बर्थ खाली कर दो” थोड़े लोग इधर उधर हो गए, जगह बनाई गई और श्रीमतीजी मिडल बर्थ पर और हम निचले बर्थ पर लेट गए। बड़ी मुश्किल से नींद आई, अचानक हमारे पैर किसी भारी वजन से दब गए। हड़बड़ाकर उठने हुए तो हमारे बगल में हमारी बर्थ पर एडजस्ट हुवा एक बन्दा दन से नीचे गिरा, उसको सम्भालते तब तक जो पैर पर का बोझा भी लुढक़ चुका था। बड़ाही हडक़म्प मच गया। क्योंकि जहाँ ये लोग गिरे वहाँ भी लोग हाथ पैर पसारे चित हुए पड़े थे। ” ऐ काका, शांती से सोते रहा, काहे उठत रहे?” इधर हम अपने दबे पैरों का दर्द सहते बोले, ” भैया, हमारा बर्थ …..” अरे चाचा, आप ही तो सोये है, तनिक टिक लिए तो कौन तकलीफ़ हो गई? रात का समय है, आँख लग गई, तो थोड़ा सा…., और वैसे भी सुबह होने को है। आप पूरी रात सोए हो, अब हम भी थोड़ा सो ले?”

हम सोच रहे, हमारा कहाँ चूक हो गया, शायद स्लिपर क्लास में रिजर्वेशन कराने में? वातानुकूलित डिब्बे में एडजस्ट वाला खेला नही होता।

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Pamban Bridge – The scenic beauty to be replaced soon.

Yes, the travel destination of many of us, the Pamban Bridge which connects Rameswaram to mainland India is soon going to be replaced by a new technology driven vertical lift bridge.

Before, we actually see in the video, how the new bridge is going to work, lets read about pamban bridge.

Pamban Bridge is a railway bridge which connects the town of Rameswaram  on Pamban Island to mainland India. Opened on 24 February 1914, it was India’s first sea bridge, and was the longest sea bridge in India until the opening of the Bandra-Worli Sea Link in 2010.

Until 1988, the Pamban bridge was the only surface transport that connected Tamil Nadu’s island of Rameswaram to the mainland. In 2018, the bascule of this bridge was damaged. This damage ended the transportation on the bridge.

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In 1988, a road bridge was also constructed parallel to the rail bridge. This road bridge is also known as Indira Gandhi Road Bridge. The Pamban Road Bridge connects the National Highway (NH 49) with the Rameswaram island. It stands on the Palk Strait and between the shores of Mandapam (a place on the Indian mainland) and Pamban (one of the fishermen town in Rameswaram island).

The rail bridge is, for the most part, a conventional bridge resting on concrete piers, but has a double-leaf bascule section midway, which can be raised to let ships and barges pass through. As can be seen in the video.

However, the 104-year-old which has a total length of 2,058 m  bridge shall be soon replaced as the Railways plans to build the country’s first vertical-lift bridge that will make way for ships and steamers to pass through has already been approved by the Ministry.

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The more than two-kilometre-long bridge, which is likely to cost Rs 250 crore, will have a 63-metre stretch which will lift up while remaining parallel to the deck to allow access to the ships, the official said.

Here is the video which shows how the new bridge shall work.

 

It will be ready in the next four years, and along with the new railway link between Rameswaram in Pamban Island and Dhanuskodi, which is considered the starting point of Ram Setu, will help ferry thousands of pilgrims from the Hindu religious site to the mainland.

A cyclone had destroyed the rail link between the two sites in 1964 and since then, this is the first effort to restore the link, the official said.

“While this bridge has the ‘Scherzer’ rolling lift technology in which the bridge opens up horizontally, to let ships pass through, in the new one, a 63 metre section will lift vertically upwards remaining parallel to the deck. It will be done using sensors at each end,” said another official.

 

The new bridge will have 100 spans of 18.3m and one navigational span of 63m.

It will be three-metre higher than the existing bridge with navigational air clearance of 22 metre above sea level. Because of the vertical lift, full horizontal width of 63m will be available for navigation.

In comparison to existing manual operation and control, the new bridge will have electro mechanical controlled systems which will be interlocked with train control systems. Many other new technologies like stainless steel reinforcement, composite sleepers and long life painting system to name a few have been considered in planning of the bridge.

So, why wait, just don’t miss the opportunity to experience the joy of travelling on the train over a sea. As the new bridge is going to be taller and ” Samandar aur aapke beech ka fasla aur jyada ho jaynenga Yatriyon……”.

References and credit :

  1. Video Courtesy : Financial Express Youtube
  2. Content reference Financial express and Wikipedia.
  3. Picture courtesy : Google images

Pic 1 https://www.theweek.in/webworld/features/lifestyle/Discover-the-less-explored-pamban-island.html

Pic 2 : https://www.pinterest.com/pin/120752833737231048

Visitor's Stories

My favourite rail story

I have always been fan of Railways and when I won’t sleep, my father will narrate me the story of the person who dared to travel in the trains first ever time.

So, I will share with you all the story which was like a everyday affair, yes the same story. Here you go,

Before the launch of Railways, We (Indians) used horses or bullock carts etc for transportation. The launch of trains, though had attracted many of us, but was non the less than a miracle. “How, how the machine could pull so many coaches and passengers all together alone ???? What happens if it doesn’t stops? why it runs so fast, and what is that terrific sound (whistle/ horn) the engine makes???? were the questions people were trying to solve.

With all these questions in mind, no one would dare to get courage and sit in the trains and travel. But some one had to do it, So one Doctor and his wife. The doctor along with his wife traveled in the train and made successful journey and even encouraged people to take up the new mode of travel –  The Railways. And now the railways has become our lifeline be it metro, passenger trains or the trams. Now we dare to sit in train 18 which is the fastest and the latest achievement of Indian Railways.

So, the story was about the brave man that how he initiated for the first ever train journey which was no less than today’s amusement park thrill ride.

The learning being, you have to match with the speed and need of the time, if you don’t you would be thrown and someone else would grab the opportunity.

The first passenger train in India ran between Bombay (Bori Bunder) and Thane on 16 April 1853. The 14-carriage train was hauled by three steam locomotives: Sahib, Sindh and Sultan. It could carry 400 people and ran on a line of 34 kilometers (21 mi).

The customary information is 3:35 pm on April 16th, 1853, when a train with 14 railway carriages and 400 guests left Bombay’s Bori Bunder for Thane, with a 21-gun salute. It was hauled by three locomotives: Sindh, Sultan, and Sahib. The journey took an hour and fifteen minutes.

The legends of the journey i.e. the three steam locomotives Sahib, Sindh and Sultan are very popular among the railfans and a blissful sight to watch for.

 

Listen to this blissful whistle of the oldest running steam locomotive, 1855 built, EIR 21.

Location : Chennai Egmore, Nungambakkam, Kodambakkam, Mambalam.
Train : Republic Day HERITAGE Special
Loco : EIR 21 “EXPRESS” (EIR : East India Railway).

Sound on Please.

 

On 16th April 2013 i.e. the 160th anniversary of the first passenger train in India was the subject of Tuesday’s Google doodle.

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A postal stamp was also issue depicting 100 years of Indian Railways.

 

postal stamp

 

At the end, happy new year to everyone and best wishes – Rail Duniya

 

WhatsApp Image 2019-01-01 at 08.49.08

 

 

References : 1. About the first train journey taken from news articles and Wikipedia.

2. Picture credits of Sindh, Sultan at Instagram : https://www.instagram.com/fernweh_rocky/

3. Postal Stamp pic by IRFCA member Vikas Singh : https://www.irfca.org/articles/vikas/stamps.html

4. Video Courtesy : https://www.youtube.com/user/KSaaluvesh

 

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Most powerful Loco of Indian Railways begins its services.

The services of India’s most powerful locomotive has began successfully. The inside pictures and the picture of the loco with its Pilot and assistant loco pilot are here for you. The locomotive has been allocated to Northern Railways.

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Some details about the locomotive are highlighted in this article.

The WAG – 12, series 600001, is first of the lot of 12000 horse power locomotive, which is being manufactured by the Alstom Company. The project is joint venture of Indian Railways and Alstom which involves manufacturing of around 500+ electric locomotives an also its maintenance for a specified time frame.

The production and assembling of the locomotive is being done at Alstom’s factory in Bihar’s Madhepura, India which is part of Make in India project which is worth 3.5 billion Euros.

The team of Alstom executives engineers and workers along with Indian railways staff has put a lot of effort and this super powerful loco is the outcome of there efforts. some pics of the team sharing moments of joy and happiness on successful trials.

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The WAG 12 locomotive would be used for the hauling of trains in Dedicated Freight Corridors. The electric locomotive can achieve a maximum speed of 120 kmph and has hauling power of up to 6,000 tonnes.

Inside cabin view :
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The locomotive is equipped with LED lamps and is made by keeping in mind the extreme heat and humidity conditions in India. Also, the company aims at reducing carbon emission and thus its manufacturing has been done with an intent to make it a Green Loco. Also, the locomotive has regenerative braking technology which shall help for lesser power consumption.

As can be seen from the pics, the loco is a dual model i.e. double section locomotive.

The Madhepura plant of Alstom and Indian Railways is spread over 250 acres and has a testing track for the locomotives as well. It has a production capacity of 120 locomotives per year and provides employment to around 10,000 people.

Also, against the colour of locomotive is dark blue which is very vibrant and attractive against the old colour scheme adopted by the Indian railways in WAG 9 which was green and in WAG 7 which was sky blue.

This pics are shot when the loco was parked and waiting for call of duty./

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The pics from the trip are contributed by Suvojit Mukherjeee ( Instagram –
https://instagram.com/mukherjeesuvojit?utm_source=ig_profile_share&igshid=1se7lg48jjh1t )

Ref: Alstom website ( https://www.alstom.com)