Archive for February, 2012

Vintage Beauty Back on Track, CHUGS ON STEAM

Posted by rajat On February - 5 - 2012

Meet Marc Bevan, whose grandfather was the loco-pilot for Winston Churchill, whenever he visited South Wales and though his living room in the UK is flooded with pictures of steam-engine trains but he has never boarded one. Now, Marc has persuaded 11 people including his family and friends to buy tickets for the commercial run of a heavy steam engine by the railways after a gap of 16 years.

When Marc Bevan dream of seeing the black beauties chug out of the station, Patram a 85-year-old could barely hold back his tears. Patram was once the senior technician who maintained steam engines at the Rewari loco shed which is now a museum. Retired some 25 years back, when the government decided to phase out steam locomotives, Patram on Saturdays was given the honour of flagging off the maiden commercial run of Steam Express from the Delhi Cantonment station to Alwar. The old man while waving the green flag zealously said, I feel so nostalgic, as if I was reborn today.”

On Saturday at 9.15am, some forty lucky people, including men, women and children enjoy the ride in the vintage steam-run train. Out of the 40, 32 passengers were foreigners—tourists and expatriates—each with their own reason for being on the train. Vikas Arya, senior divisional mechanical engineer (power), Northern Railway, the man behind the entire show said the engine for the run, too, was chosen after much deliberation. “It is a 1965-make WP class engine manufactured by Chittaranjan locomotives and decommissioned even before the Saharanpur loco shed shut down in 1987. A Pacific class model with a 4-6-2 wheel formation, it has 1,460 horsepower. It can touch 110kmph and was used to haul the fastest Express trains during its heyday.” He also said that the heritage run will take place “at least” twice a month for the next two months. “We will gauge the response before taking the run forward. At present, we are charging Rs 10, 200 per passenger for two days and one night that includes a return journey to Alwar, a stay at Hotel Tiger Den run by the Rajasthan Tourism Development Corporation, a Safari at Sariska, and sightseeing.”

Mac Bean, a UK national whose father was in the British Army and drove trains at Berlin and David Colenutt has been visiting India for over five times and has travelled in almost all the famous routes in the country and for them the trip is not so much for its novelty but getting in touch with their roots. “We are a team of rail enthusiasts from the UK, Australia, the US, and of course, India, who love train journeys and discovering the country. We have formed ourselves into the Darjeeling Tours and keep seeing each other when we come here,” said Colenutt.

The children’s traveling in that train, for them it was the sheer grandeur of the engine that has captured their imagination. “It’s my first journey on a steam engine-run train. I had heard a great deal about them, but will now ride one,” said Zoe a ten year old kid. Andrew Cartwright and Saowamas, a couple who arrived at the station almost 70 minutes ahead of departure—even before the railway officials showed up—for them the trip was to relive the “romance they had experienced while taking a similar heritage trip in Scotland five years ago”. Amartya Chowdhury and Saurabhi Das Chowdhury another couple also said that it was the “uniqueness” of the occasion that spurred them to spend thousands. “We hope it’s a weekend we will always remember.” The railways, too, hope such rides will become a permanent feature of their calendar. “You can now book the entire train for Rs 4 lakh. We hope the Rewari Steam Locomotive Shed & Rail Museum gets a good response through such runs,” added Arya.

News Source : Times of India

One Fourth Allottees Still To Get DDA Flats

Posted by rajat On February - 4 - 2012

It’s a dream come true for Delhiites to get a Delhi Development Authority (DDA) flat. The process, work and the effort that had to be put in order to get a DDA flat is a nightmare. On October 25, 2010, DDA Housing Scheme was launched and some 16,000 flats located across Delhi were on offer. For the first drawn which was held on April 18, 2011, DDA received over 7.56 lakh applications.

Some 12,000 of the successful allottees have received demand letters for their flats but still the remaining 4,000 allottees are still in the quest from pillar to post to get any information about when they would get their flats. DDA has stated that the remaining demand letters would be issued shortly but the allottees are still not sure when the promised day would come.

Sunita Khanna (name changed on request) sait that “Visiting the DDA headquarters regularly for the demand letter has become a part of my life and is affecting my office work.“ She also said that “DDA officials had earlier promised to issue the letter by January but I’m not sure if I will get the letter even in February. It has already been one-and-a-half years since DDA launched the scheme but I don’t know when exactly would I be able to move into my own house. “

The deadlines set for issuing the demand letters by DDA has been missing and the reason why the 4000 allottees are still not getting the letter is because the flats are still not completed. Vasant Kunj D-6, Jasola Sector 9A, Dwarka 18B and Rohini Sector 29 are some of the areas where the demand letters for allotments are made for flats. A senior DDA official said that “Work on flats in these areas is yet to be completed but it would be done shortly. “ One main problem why these flats are still not completed is because DDA is facing problem installing elevators. Though elevators have been put in place, they are yet to be made operational. According to some DDA officials ‘Apart from construction work, which is lagging behind, another reason for the delay seems to be the fact that most of these flats are located in multi-storied buildings. “There is a problem with installation of elevators in these buildings.’’

Only once the elevator starts working and after the completion of construction, the demand letters for all the locations will be raised. The allottees of these flats have received an intimation letter, instead of a demand letter. After they get the demand letter, allottees can make the payment for the flats. The process of taking possession of the flat would take two months after payment.

News Source : Hindustan Times

Blueprint Ready for Metro Phase IV

Posted by rajat On February - 3 - 2012

Work has already begun on the third phase of the Metro network and the Delhi government has started to finalize the corridors for Phase IV. According to some sources, the government is already considering the corridors suggested by the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC). A senior official said that “DMRC has identified eight corridors, based on a traffic study done by it. The government will further scrutinize these corridors and recommend options, if needed, before finalizing the alignment.”

The Phase IV network will cover more than 115km and will connect far-flung areas of the city to the existing network. Officials stated that the idea was to connect outer Delhi to the heart of the city in the fourth phase. “While Phase III will make the Metro network denser and bring NCR closer to Delhi; in the fourth phase, we are hoping to connect the corners of the city to the Metro network.”

According to source, a letter stating the corridor alignment and their length was sent to the transport department on November 2, 2011. Some of the corridors, like Lajpat Nagar-Madangir (7.33km) or Mukundpur-Yamuna Vihar-Dilshad Garden (17.54km) will also connect commercial hubs with areas having poor surface connectivity. However, most of the corridors being studied would connect the far corners of Delhi to the city centre. These include the Yamuna Bank-Loni Border (11.97km), Rithala-Bawana (12.50km), Kirti Nagar-Dwarka Sector 28 (18.17km), Azadpur-RK Ashram (8.90km) and Badarpur-Delhi Aerocity/NH8 corridor (20.79km).

There will also be a corridor connecting Janakpuri (west) to Mukundpur (18.74km), both of which are terminating stations for corridors in the third phase. DMRC will be asked to conduct a project report on the corridors describing the alignment of the corridors along with a ridership study by the Delhi government. According to officials, the final network for Phase IV will be decided only after another traffic study is determined and the network’s economic viability vetted. Yamuna Vihar to Shiv Vihar (3km), Dwarka to Najafgarh (5.5km) and Mundka to Tikri Border (6.31km) are the three corridors which are expected to be be included in Phase III.

News Source : Times of India

RITES REPORT, Baprola Link: Monorail Unviable, BRT on Table

Posted by rajat On February - 2 - 2012

Stating that a monorail link is financially not an unviable option, RITES, a transport and infrastructure consultancy has suggested the state government for a high speed Bus Road Transit (BRT) elevated corridor should be constructed instead. The report states that the BRT will provide an easier access to commuters choosing to travel to far-flung areas like Baprola which is ahead of the Dwarka Mor Metro station. If the Delhi government accepts this proposal, Delhi will be the first city in the country with an elevated BRT.

The Delhi State Industrial and Infrastructure Development Corporation (DSIIDC) had commissioned Rail India Transit & Economic Services (RITES) consultancy to carry out a techno-economic feasibility study and prepare a detailed project report on a mass transit channel that could link the capital with a Knowledge Based Industrial (KBI) hub which is to be set-up at Baprola in west Delhi. The RITES report will now be put before the state government for approval. If the government clears the project, DSIIDC is targetting a completion deadline of 2015.

The final report which was submitted to DSIIDC, RITES states that introducing a sophisticated transit system for short length routes is very costly and hence monorail may not be ideal for the 4.5 kilometre long alignment between the Dwarka Modh metro station to the site of the KBI hub. Instead the report states “The bus/road based systems are ideally suited for the last mile connectivity as it is the least costly solution” In its report to DSIIDC, RITES states that having an at grade (on ground) BRT system between Dwarka Metro station and the KBI hub will not be suitable as people living on either sides of the corridor will try to cross the roads which will affect the level of service and bring down travel speed and the image of the system for users.

The report states “In view of these reasons it is recommended to provide a grade separated (elevated) closed bus rapid transit system for the corridor.” RITES suggested developing the BRT corridor in two phases, the first one covering the distance of 4.5km between Dwarka Metro station to the KBI Park at an estimated cost of Rs 335.62 crore. The next phase, would extend the corridor to Mundka connecting the metro station from the northwest of Delhi to the KBI hub and the estimated cost will be around Rs 403 crore. Both phases taken together would add nearly 12 km of elevated BRT to the city’s road transport network.

It will be spread over 63.97 acres, the KBI complex will make room for industries of the future and provide direct employment to over 1 lakh people and indirect employment to 1,70,000 people. A proposal for group housing over 4.9 acres was also submitted to make some room for providing space for housing within Delhi. The state government and DSIIDC has already cleared for the Baprola complex, developed on a “green building concept,” is likely to come up at a cost of over Rs 1,500 crore. It is proposed to be developed on a self financing mode.

News Source : Times of India

Eight-coach Metros by Sept!!

Posted by rajat On February - 1 - 2012

Metro has definitely made commuting in Delhi much easier and cheaper but with so many commuters using metro; we cannot deny that metros can be very crowded especially during the peak hours. There is good news for everyone as the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation has placed an order for 76 more coaches from Bombardier. With the new coaches, the existing trains with six coaches will be converted to eight coaches for trains running from HUDA City Center to Jahangirpuri corridor by this September. By January-February 2013, trains running on the Dwarka Sector 21-Noida/Vaishali line will have eight coaches trains.

H S Anand, director (rolling stock) said that “The new set of 76 coaches is expected to be delivered by April-May 2012. From these, 37 eight-coach trains will be added to the Yellow line by September, when they will be introduced in revenue services.”

Delhi Metro has also placed an order with DMEL, the supplier of ROTEM trains which are running on the Dwarka Sector 21-Noida/Vaishali line and these coaches will be delivered by July 2012. With the arrival of new coaches, trains with four coaches will be converted to six coached and the rest will be put into service as eight-coach train sets and deployed on the Blue line by January-February 2013.

Anand, a Delhi Metro official said that “ Before being put into service, the coaches will be tested over three to four months. “The testing is done not only of the rolling stock but also the signaling, so that when commissioned, the trains run smoothly.”

On an average, some six-seven lakh passengers travel on the two lines and with the addition of new coaches will be able to accommodate more travelers and reducing the rush. At present, the number of coaches in the network is 1,022, of which 538 are Bombardiers.

News Source : Times of India