Thrissur Railway Passengers' Association, TRPA is the confluence of all the stake holders who are interested in the development of Railway facilities in and around Thrissur. Naturally, all the people who avail Railway facilities from Thrissur and other neighbouring stations are automatically the members of this association. Due to the historic reasons, commuters from Thrissur towards Ernakulam, Kozhikode and Palakkad sides form the active group. TRPA always stands for meeting the public demands and this process is well supported by Railway Men, Political Leaders and the Media in Thrissur. The tireless efforts by TRPA in achieving the long standing basic requirements of Thrissur are well recognised and appreciated by one and all. TRPA is committed to continue its service to the society at large, cutting across all divisions. "Our prime focus is on the sustainable improvement of rail service in the country to world class levels with special emphasis on Thrissur"

Wednesday 27 March 2013

MEMU flagged off


(Malayala Manorama dt 28-03-2013)

(Mathrubhumi dt 28-3-2013)

 (Madhyamam dt 28-3-2013)

 (Mangalam dt 28-3-2013)

(Veekshanam dt 28-3-2013)

MEMU to Palakkad

(Madhyamam dt 27-3-2013)
(Malayala Manorama dt 27-3-2013)
 (Mathrubhumi dt 27-3-2013)

Nominated to DRUCC

(Madhyamam dt 26-3-2013)
(Mathrubhumi dt 26-3-2013)

Rlys to introduce half-yearly and annual season tickets from April 1

The Railways has informed that in addition to the monthly and quarterly season tickets, half yearly and yearly season tickets will be introduced from April 1. 
The concessional season tickets issued to students shall be issued on monthly/ quarterly basis only. Half 
yearly season tickets will be chargeable at 5.4 times of monthly season tickets and yearly season tickets will be chargeable at 10.8 times of monthly season tickets. This scheme is applicable for both first and second class tickets. No refund shall be permissible for half yearly and yearly season tickets. 
However, the Izzat monthly season tickets/free monthly season tickets for students shall continue to be issued only on monthly basis.

(Times of India dt 28-3-2013)
(Mathrubhumi dt 28-3-2013)

Monday 25 March 2013

Commuters laud Memu services

Kochi: The launch of the Ernakulam-Thrissur Mainline Electrical Multiple Units (MEMU) service has brought cheers to shortdistance commuters as they need to spend only less than half the fare of express trains. 
They can now travel to Thrissur in two hours at Rs15 compared to Rs 35 in express trains while an Ernakulam-Aluva journey will cost only Rs 5 against Rs 30 in express trains. 
The train leaves Thrissur at 10.50am and reaches Ernakulam at 12.55 pm. In the return direction, it leaves Ernakulam at 2.30pm and arrives in Thrissur by 4.50pm. Railway sources said 300-400 tickets for Thrissur and Aluva are be
ing sold a day on an average for the Netravati Express from Ernakulam Junction station. The number of passengers goes up to even 500-600 on Fridays and Saturdays. Meanwhile, the fast passenger bus fare to Aluva and Thrissur is Rs15 and Rs 55 respectively. 
Railway authorities said 
all passengers travelling from Kochi to Aluva in Netravati are likely to shift their journey to the Memu. “The number of passengers in Memu is expected to go up in the coming days as railway stations on the Ernakulam-Thrissur stretch have a better connectivity compared to other stations,”said area manager (Ernakulam) P L Ashok Kumar. 
“The journey comes at a cheaper rate compared to the express trains and bus. The train should run on all seven days, instead of only six,” said All-Kerala Railway Users’ Association president Paul Manvettom. 
The authorities, however, are worried about the dip in earnings following the launch of Memu services. The introduction of Memu services on Ernakulam-Kottayam-Kollam and Ernakulam-Alappuzha-Kollam routes have resulted in an 80% dip in the sale of tickets for Parasuram Express and Sabari Express from Ernakulam Town. 
“We will conduct a study on impact of Memu services in the revenue,” a railway official said.
(Times of India dt 26-3-2013)

Saturday 23 March 2013

Reception to MEMU

TRPA accorded a grand reception to the inaugural MEMU from Ernakulam on 23-3-2013.
(Mathrubhumi dt 24-3-2013)
(The Hindu dt 24-3-2013)
 (Deepika dt 24-3-2013)
(Kerala Kaumudi dt 24-3-2013)
(Deshabhimani dt 24-3-2013)
(Madhyamam dt 24-3-2013)
(Mangalam dt 24-3-2013)
(Veekshanam dt 24-3-2013)

Friday 22 March 2013

Ekm-Thrissur Memu to chug off today

Thrissur: Bringing relief to thousands of short-distance commuters, the Mainline Electric Multiline Unit (MEMU) between Ernakulam and Thrissur will chug off from Saturday. The 66611 train, announced in the railway budget for 2012-2013, will be flagged off from the Ernakulam Junction at 2.30pm on Saturday and will reach Thrissur station at 4.50pm. 
    The eight car train will run on all days except Tuesdays and will have stops at 15 stations between Ernakulam Junction and Thrissur. The Memu train will start at 10.50am from Thrissur and will reach Ernakulam at 12.55pm. Union food minister K V Thomas and MPs P C Chacko and K P Dhanapalan will flag off the new Memu train,” said Thrissur railway station manager K R Jayakumar. 
    The fare for second class travelling from Thrissur to Chowara, Aluva, Kalamassery, Edapally, Ernakulam and Ernakulam Junction is Rs 15. Meanwhile, it is Rs 10 to Chalakudy, Devine Nagar, Koratty, Karukutty and Angamaly and for Ollur, Pudukad, Nellayi and Irinjalakuda the fare is Rs 5. The first Memu train in Kerala has been running on Shoranur-Palakkad-Coimbatore route.
(Times of India dt 23-3-2013)
(The Hindu dt 23-3-2013)
(Veekshanam dt 23-3-2013)
(Madhyamam dt 23-3-2013)
(Deshabhimani dt 23-3-2013)

Sunday 17 March 2013

Finally MEMU comes

(Mathrubhumi dt 22-3-3013)

(Malayala Manorama Dt. 22/03/13)

(Mangalam dt 22-3-2013)
(Madhyamam dt 22-3-2013)
(Deepika dt 21-3-2013)

(Malayala Manorama dt 17-3-2013)

(Mathrubhumi dt 17-3-2013)

Friday 15 March 2013

Ernakulam-Thrissur MEMU likely to chug off next week

The long-delayed Ernakulam-Thrissur mainline electrical multiple unit (MEMU) train is likely to chug off from here on March 23.
Its rake is ready. “There is no official communication on extending it up to Palakkad,” said a senior Railways official. Reacting to the Union Railway Minister’s promise two days ago to allot new MEMU trains in the Ernakulam-Kollam sector through Kottayam and Alappuzha, he said their flag off date and timings would be discussed at a later stage.
But he admitted that the inordinate delay in doubling the track in the two districts might affect their speed.
Late evening trains
Commuters have been demanding late evening trains from Ernakulam to Kayamkulam or Kollam through the two routes for many years. At present, there are no trains in the Ernakulam-Alappuzha-Kayamkulam stretch for about five hours during evening peak hours, between 6.30 p.m. and 11.15 p.m.
A train that leaves Ernakulam at around 8 p.m. will be of immense use to commuters, many of whom hitch a ride in lorries and other vehicles at night to reach Chertalaand Alappuzha. Another long-pending demand is to extend the Shoranur-Ernakulam train that reaches Ernakulam at 8 p.m., to Alappuzha. The All Kerala Railway Users’ Association had repeatedly taken up the issue with the Zonal Railway Consultative Commitee in Chennai.
The Association also suggested the extension of the Ernakulam-Kottayam passenger train to Kayamkulam, since there is no train in the busy corridor between 8 p.m. and 11 p.m.
Better connectivity
Ensuring better rail connectivity between neighbouring districts will considerably lessen traffic on highways. It will also speed up express trains, by reducing the number of stoppages.
Though more MEMUs are expected in Kerala, the shed in Kollam for the upkeep of coaches is not yet ready.
(The Hindu dt 15-3-2013)

Wednesday 13 March 2013

Bansal allots four new trains to state

Railway minister Pawan Kumar Bansal on Wednesday allotted four new trains for the state, including two express trains, during his reply to the two-day debate on the railway budget. 
These include a New Delhi-Thiruvananthapuram weekly express, a Bangalore-Palakkad-Mangalore bi-weekly express, an Ernakulam-Kollam Memu service via Kottayam and an Ernakulam-Kollam Memu service via Alappuzha, 
The minister also announced the extension of the Thiruvananthapuram-Kozhikode Jan Shadabdi Express till Kannur and the Kozhikode-Shoranur passenger till Thrissur. Besides, the Kochuveli-Lokmanya Tilak weekly express will run twice a week. 
Bansal included Vadakancherry, Thrissur and Guruvayur stations among Adarsh stations. The budget, presented last month, had included four stations — Chingavanam, Kollam, Kozhikode and Tripunithura — in the list. 
The minister announced that the Palakkad coach factory would be completed in a time-bound manner. The much-awaited Sabari line also found mention in his speech when he said the project would be made a reality. He also announced that six stations in the state will be modernised. 
However, the minister has not accepted any major demand put forward by a delegation of ministers and officials to Delhi last 
week. They included formation of a peninsular zone, commencement of work for the Alappuzha wagon factory, improving Memu services, doubling of tracks and upgrading Thiruvananthapuram, Ernakulam and Kozhikode stations to international standards. 
“There was no mention of rail doubling. There is no point in introducing new trains unless the tracks are doubled. The Railways is unable to operate the express, passenger and Memu service trains announced in earlier budgets as the track occupancy is higher than the capacity,” MP A Sampath said. 


New Delhi-Thiruvananthapuram weekly express Bangalore-Palakkad-Mangalore bi-weekly express Ernakulam-Kollam MEMU via Kottayam Ernakulam-Kollam MEMU via Alappuzha Extension of Thiruvananthapuram-Kozhikode Jan Shadabdi Express till Kannur Extension of Kozhikode-Shoranur passenger till Thrissur Convertion of Kochuveli–Lokmanya Tilak weekly express to bi-weekly Vadakanchery, Thrissur and Guruvayur stations to be included in the list of Adarsh stations.
(Times of India dt 14-3-2013)

Tuesday 12 March 2013

Doubling work in Shoranur could disrupt rail traffic

KOCHI: Rail traffic in north Kerala is in for major disruption during the second half of this month following the decision to undertake the much-delayed doubling work of a small stretch fromShoranur.

Some of the trains will stop journey at Thrissur and Ernakulam stations while some others will run late, during the period. Doubling of the nearly 5-km Shoranur-Karakkad stretch on the Shoranur-Mangalore line was to be completed in the last financial year. But this stretch remained single line even when rest of the Shoranur-Mangalore track was commissioned after doubling last year. This was causing major delays for the trains on the Shoranur-Mangalore track.

The doubling work has now been tentatively fixed from March 15 to April 4, but the dates will be finalized only after the commissioner of rail safety gives the clearance, railway sources told TOI here. However, instructions have already been issued to suspend booking for some which will be dislocated by the repair work.

According to tentative plans, Nagercoil-Mangalore Ernad Express and Kozhikode-Thiruvananthapuram Jan Shatabdi Express (Via Alappuzha) will be terminated in Thrissur, while Thiruvananthapuram -Shoranur Venad Express will stop journey at Ernakulam. The Parasuram Express is likely to be stopped at Angamaly, the sources said. The fate of Kozhikode-Trivandrum Jan Shatabdi (Via Kottayam), Ernakulam-Kannur Intercity Express, and Kannur-Alappuzha Express are yet to be decided.

Ghorakpur Express, Indore Express, Bilaspur Express, Dhanbad Express and Sabari Express are likely to be diverted through Vadakkanchery-Ottappalam route without touching Shornur during the period. Long distance trains passing through the Shornur-Mangalore route are likely to face delays during the doubling work, the sources said.

Sources said much of the work has been completed and only some linking work remains to be completed. It is being undertaken on an urgent basis to get it completed in this financial year itself, they said.
(T. Ramavarmann, Times of India dt 13-3-2013)

Thursday 7 March 2013

Ladies coaches to be shifted to middle of trains

Kochi: The Thiruvananthapuram railway division on Thursday directed all railway stations under it to shift the ladies coaches in all passenger trains operating from the stations to the middle of the trains. 
The division has asked the stations to shift the coaches with immediate effect to strengthen the security of women passengers. 
On the occasion of the International Women’s Day, two new ‘ladies only’ coaches will be provided in the Thiruvananthapuram-Shoranur Venad Express from Friday. Luggage-cum-brake van coach of the train will not be earmarked for ladies any more.
(Times of India dt 8-3-2013)

Monday 4 March 2013


(City Journal dt 3-3-2013)

New rail-based factories: More sound than substance?

In the Railway Budget this year, the Minister, Pawan Bansal, announced proposals to set up and upgrade over seven-eight rail-based factories.
This is good news, both politically and economically, as rail-based factories generate direct and indirect jobs and help improve the social and economic landscape of the area.
In this context, it would be interesting to focus on two of the many factories that were announced in the UPA-I regime, primarily because their journey holds significant lessons.
These are the electric locomotive factory in Madhepura and a diesel locomotive factory in Marhowra, both in Bihar.
In fact, the diesel factory even found a mention in the US President, Barack Obama’s, speech during his India visit.

These factories were announced in Railway Budget by the then Minister Lalu Prasad and were proposed to be located in his home State. The factories were estimated to involve capital investments of about Rs 3,500 crore, and the bidding process had also moved forward.
In 2009, just before the general elections, when financial bids for both these factories were invited, GE was a single bidder for the diesel loco factory; while there were no bidders for the electric loco factory.
This was primarily due to the global economic slowdown.
However, work on the project restarted after UPA-II came to power. In 2010, the Railways had informed six firms for qualification for bidding — four for electric loco factory, and two for diesel.
For the electric loco factory, the companies that had qualified were Alstom, Bombardier, GE and Siemens; while for the diesel loco factory, two American firms had qualified — GE and EMD (now, taken over by Caterpillar).
But, soon after that, the contractual norms got entangled in inter-Ministerial allegations. Consequently, there has been no forward movement to the next stage — financial bids.
In 2011, Pompa Babbar, then Financial Commissioner of Railways, had pointed out that many changes were made in the contract document after it was cleared by the Cabinet, which could increase the financial liability of the Railways by over thousands of crores. Moreover, in December 2012, the Prime Minister’s Office tried bringing back focus on these projects.
 “The bids for the Madhepura project will be called by December 31, 2012, and the project will be awarded before the Railway Budget. The inter-ministerial group set up under the Cabinet Committee of Economic Affairs will consider and approve any necessary changes to documents. Timelines for the Marhowra Project will be announced by December 15,” it stated.
As things stand, there is no clarity on whether these projects will be awarded this year. Top sources in Rail Bhawan admit that the project has become too contentious, making it difficult to take a decision. Many point out that that Bansal’s predecessors had also avoided taking a call on the issue.
Some of contentious issues that need to be resolved relate to the financial pay-out maintenance period. There are discussions on reducing the maintenance period, among others. Also, a lot of time has been spent in deciding on the exact ownership format of factories.

Firm up basics
However, the experience of these two factories make it important for the Railways to first firm up the basics of how they want to go about setting factories before making announcements. Otherwise, they only add to the Railways unending list of pending projects.
From a host of new factories proposed during last few years, only the Rae Bareli coach factory project has started production (UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi’s constituency). That too, as a Railways’ wholly-owned production unit, instead of Planning Commission’s stated intent of inviting private investment, given the Railways’ funding crunch.
That said, here are some of the factories from Bansal’s list — a new forged wheel factory at Rae Bareli, Uttar Pradesh; a greenfield mainline electrical multiple units (MEMU) manufacturing facility at Bhilwara, Rajasthan, in collaboration with State Government and Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL); a coach manufacturing unit in Sonepat district, Haryana, in collaboration with the State Government; midlife rehabilitation (MLR) workshop at Kurnool, Andhra Pradesh in collaboration with the State Government; a workshop for repair and rehabilitation of motorised bogies at Misrod, Madhya Pradesh; a new wagon maintenance workshop in Kalahandi district,Odisha; a modern signalling equipment facility at Chandigarh, Haryana through public-private partnership route.
It remains to be seen how far these proposals go.
Courtesy: Business Line (March 04, 2013)

Saturday 2 March 2013

Stalled revolution

The task of the Indian Railways is getting more and more challenging as the system grows in size. The attempt at modernisation and development is also producing a contrast in services. About 93 per cent of the 840-crore passenger trips made using the railways are in the unreserved class. The figure is expected to reach the 900-crore mark in 2013-14, with most of the passengers using the general class. The gap between this desperate lot and the privileged classes is set to widen further, as the Railways power their growth to catch up with global practices and improved services. The Railways’ prime objective is to set their finances in order, but it can be achieved only at the cost of infrastructure development. To cut expenditure, the Railways have slashed the targets for building new lines, track doubling and gauge conversion. This is expected to bring down the operating ratio to 88.8 per cent this fiscal and to 87.8 per cent in 2013-14. Much of the small surplus generated will be used for technology upgrade and creating amenities for passengers in reserved compartments and in executive lounges. Sadly enough, the overburdened unreserved compartments do not have power-points for charging mobile phones. The condition of toilets and the security of passengers are way down the priority list. The Mumbai tracks claim anything between 10 and 15 lives a day. The official answer to that is more trains being added to reduce accident risk. Another cause for concern is that unreserved compartments are not quite crashworthy and are much behind the safety quotient of the LHB coaches of Rajdhani trains. As for increasing the number of coaches, the fact is that about 3,000 are added each year; but about 2,500 are taken out as ‘condemned.’ On the infrastructure front, the only option is to increase the potential speed of trains, explains railway watcher Vivek Khare, and use the infrastructure for passenger traffic, with a separate corridor for freight. The Railways have not revised the speed classification of the mainline routes since 1972: 160 km an hour for “A” line main routes and 130 for “B” line routes, with an average of 80 km an hour for the Rajdhani. Increasing the potential speed to 200 km an hour on the 18,000-km length of tracks, which bear 80 per cent of the traffic, will sufficiently meet the national requirement and yield an average speed of 120 km. That is what Railway Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal intends to do: increase the speed of trains starting with Shatabdi. He told The Hindu that high-speed trains were expensive, and their introduction would take time. Track improvement by raising the ballast cushion height with quality chips will help without adding to the financial burden. This will go a long way in improving punctuality, but the Railways are yet to find a solution to the problem of fog and inclement weather. Improving tracks is paramount for safety. But major improvement will be taken up later, with the emphasis being on improving the signalling system and doing away with manned and unmanned level crossings for now. It may be a distant dream for the Railways to regain lost glory. The system enjoyed around 85 per cent of the market share in both the traffic and passenger segments at the time of Independence, but is now down to about 30 per cent and 10 per cent. Punctuality and checking pilferage are vital to attract more people. The Railways have progressed little from the 54,000-km route length acquired from the British, adding just 10,000 km. The network is yet to touch the capitals of Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Nagaland and Sikkim. (The Hindu dt 3-3-2012)

Disability rights is off the rails

Like all other years, this year’s Railway budget did not bring any cheer for India’s 70-100 million people with disabilities, a large number of whom depend on the Railways for their basic mobility needs. The only difference was that for the first time, the new Railway Minister talked about the substantive issue of accessibility at the stations and in the coaches. However, the discrimination and indignity faced by millions of persons with disabilities trying to use the Railways cannot be addressed by mere pious statements of good intent. The barriers are deep-rooted and systemic. Let’s try and understand what it means for the average person with disability to travel with the Railways. To begin with, you can’t buy the tickets online. The website is not accessible as it does not conform to web content accessibility guidelines despite a Government of India policy mandating so. And even if you are not print-impaired, you ‘have to’ physically go to the booking counter with your disability certificate in hand to avail yourself of the discount and get a prized seat in that one single accessible coach per train. The booking counters are not accessible and that one ‘accessible’ counter for ‘special’ and ‘differently-abled’ people (pun intended) is not manned most of the time. To top it, by the government’s own admission, more than 50 per cent of the people with disabilities actually don’t have a disability certificate. Even if you are lucky to have a disability certificate, you are forced to purchase two tickets and to travel with an ‘attendant,’ never mind if you are totally independent and can actually travel alone. HURDLES IN STATIONS To get to the coach is another huge struggle. The way to the platforms is not at all accessible. India is still stuck with the concept of foot over-bridges with a thousand steep steps, and no ramps or lifts. You are therefore left with no choice but to use the same path as the luggage carts — littered with potholes and garbage. The concept of ‘accessibility’ for the Railways has remained limited to one accessible toilet for the entire station. God help you if you urgently need to use one but you are on Platform No. 2 and the ‘disabled-friendly’ toilet happens to be at the extreme end of the station, beyond Platform No. 7. It is the same story with all other public facilities such as the drinking water taps, the public telephone booths, and so on. The worst aspect of the Railways in the modern, 21st century India is the segregated coach for people with disabilities. This ‘special’ coach for ‘differently-abled’ people is attached now to almost every long-distance train either at the beginning, immediately after the engine, or towards the very end, right next to the guard. A person with disability doesn’t have the same choice as other passengers because all the other coaches are not accessible. We all know the story of Mahatma Gandhi having been thrown off a first-class carriage in South Africa because of the colour of his skin. I say Gandhiji was lucky. After all, he did manage to get into the coach. I, as a wheelchair user, can’t even get inside. What is needed is a holistic, time-bound action plan with a generous resource allocation. We are not asking for any miracles but there should be a serious start somewhere. I offer a simple three-point agenda to our new Railways Minister: Make the Railways website accessible. Make all A1 category stations fully accessible (stations are categorised by passenger traffic). Make at least one coach accessible in every class of every train. Fix a practical time frame, allocate a decent budget and for God’s sake, then just do it! (Javed Abidi is a very disgruntled disabled Indian citizen. He has been a wheelchair user for the last 33 years and yet, is not 'wheelchair-bound'. He keeps travelling around the world as the Global Chair of Disabled People's International (DPI). He is neither ‘invalid’ nor ‘special.’ And, he certainly is not ‘differently’ abled. He travels by train all the time, but only in America and in Europe. At home, in modern India, he cannot. He cannot even get inside them but he wants to. Hence, this piece, in the hope that things will change. He is Convener, Disabled Rights Group (DRG) and Chairperson, DPI.) (The Hindu dt 3-3-2012)