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 26 February 2014

Monday 24 February 2014

Now, a website for hassle-free Tatkal booking

Now just log on to IRCTC Lite for hassle-free and faster booking of your Tatkal ticket.
This additional facility, which opens 30 minutes before commencement of Tatkal booking at 10 a.m., is shorn of links and pop-ups to ensure better speed.
The Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corporation says it has removed all links, images, advertisements, services and features, banners, alerts and updates and floating tabs from the home page.
Facilities such as enquiries on refund status and cancelled history have been kept out of this section to reduce unnecessary hits, which hamper transaction speed.
Travel agents cannot access the link during the two-hour duration given to the public; a separate link is provided to them for ticket cancellation.
The new software has resulted in increased bookings during the two-hour period. The average purchase has shot up from 83,000 to 92,000 tickets.
The speedy and easy access helped in record sales of 1.05 lakh Tatkal tickets on February 9.
(K. BALCHAND, The Hindu dt 25-2-2014)

Saturday 22 February 2014

Punkunnam welcome Intercity

(Madhyamam dt 23-2-2014)
(Mathrubhumi dt 23-2-2014)
(Malayala Manorama dt 23-2-2014)
(Mangalam dt 23-2-2014)
(Deepika dt 23-2-2014)

Tuesday 18 February 2014

Confusing destination boards

(Mathrubhumi dt 19-2-2014)

Change in timing

Thiruvananthapuram: The railway has announced a minor change in the timings of the Chennai Egmore-Guruvayur Express (train no 16127) and the Guruvayur-Thiruvanthapuram-Guruvayur intercity express (16341/16342). 
    The Chennai Egmore-Guruvayur Express will arrive here at 11.15pm instead of 11.30pm and depart from here at 11.25pm instead of 11.40pm from February 23. The revised departure timings from other stations are as follows: Chirayinkeezhu (11.50pm), Kadakkavur (11.55pm), Varkala (12.05am), Paravur (12.15am), Kollam Junction (12.40am), Kayamkulam (1.15am), Hari
ppad (1.30am), Ambalappuzha (01.45am), Alappuzha (2am), Chertala (2.30am), Ernakulam Junction (3.30am), Ernakulam Town (3.35am), Aluva (3.50am), Angamali (4am), Chalakudy (4.15am) Irinjalakkuda (4.23am), Thrissur (4.55am), Punkunnam (5am) and Guruvayur (5.50am). 
    The Guruvayur-Thiruvananthapuram intercity express will arrive here at 10.15am instead of 10.05am from February 21. The pairing train will arrive at Guruvayur at 12.20am instead of 12.10am from February 22. 
    The railways has also introduced additional halts for four trains on an experimental basis for six months from February 21. The Guruvayur-Punalur-Guruvayur fast passenger (56365/56366) will have an additional stop at Ollur (6.35am/12.35am) while the Ernakulam-Kannur-Ernakulam intercity express (16305/ 16306) will have a halt at Irinjalakuda (7.43am/7.04pm). 

    The Guruvayur-Thiruvananthapuram-Guruvayur intercity express will halt at Punkunnam 
(3.51am/11.24pm) and Mangalore-Nagercoil-Mangalore Parasuram Express (16649/ 16650) will stop at Pudukkad (12.09pm/12.15pm). 
    The Kochuveli-Chandigarh Sampark Kranthi Express (12217/12218) will be operated twice a week, as announced in the railway budget. The services will run from Kochuveli on Saturdays and Mondays and from Chandigarh on Wednesdays and Fridays. The first additional service will start from Chandigarh on February 21 and from Kochuveli on February 24.
(Times of India dt 20- 2-2014)
(Mathrubhumi dt 19-2-2014)

Increase in frequency

(Malayala Manorama dt 20-2-2014)
(Mathrubhumi dt 19-2-2014)

Monday 17 February 2014

New Intercity to Madgaon

(Madhyamam dt 17-2-2014)
(Mathrubhumi dt 17-2-2014)
(Deshabhimani dt 17-2-2014)

Saturday 15 February 2014

Planning board shelves high-speed railway project

Thiruvananthapuram: The government’s much hyped highspeed rail corridor project has been scrapped by the state planning board from the list of mega projects in the state. The state has already transferred Rs 17 crore to the DMRC for preparing thedetailed project report. 
    According to sources, the DMRC is yet to submit the detailed project report that was supposed to be submitted before December 31. The planning board took out the project from thelistof mega projects andsubsequently the matter found no mention in the state budget for this year.Thiswas replacedwith the sub-urban rail corridor project, which the government found would be more suitable and viablefor thestate. 
    In a recent stock taking, the high-speed rail corridor project that was estimated to cost Rs 1 lakh crore, has escalated to almost double that figure. “The new cost has been worked out at Rs 1.80 lakh crore that makes it almostunbearablefor thestate,” sourcessaid. 
    “Ithas notbeen scrappedofficially,butitis at a deadstage.The estimated project cost has al
most doubled now, and the more the delay, the costlier the project wouldbecome,”sourcessaid. 
    It is also learnt, that chief minister Oommen Chandy himself had expressed unwillingnesstowardsthe projectin many of the meetings connected with the reviewof infrastructure projectsin thestate. 
    The state government had formed a public limited company- Kerala High Speed Rail Corporation Ltd - to implement the project. The government had also appointed former IAS officer TBalakrishnan asthe managing director of thecompany. 
    The 630-km high speed rail network was proposed with two parallel tracks in standard gauge system to connect Thiruvananthapuram with Mangalore. The new company was formed on the basis of a pre-feasibility report submitted by DMRC. 
    Thoughthewidthof theland required to be acquired for the railcorridor wascalculatedtobe 13 metres andthe plan wastouse a green-field route to keep the rehabilitation task to the minimum, considerable opposition had risen from various corners while trying to undertake the survey.

(K.P. Sasi Kiran, Times of India dt 16-2-2014)
(Malayala Manorama dt 17-2-2014)

A decade on the rails with UPA

When the Railway Minister presented the ‘Vote-on-Account’ in Parliament on February 12, for the first time in more than three decades, Indian Railways (IR) would have completed almost 10 years under one political dispensation, albeit a coalition. How far has this decade of relative political stability impacted positively (and negatively) on the performance of the Railways? Further, at a time when most of the major political parties must be honing their election manifestos ahead of the election in April/May 2014, are there any lessons for the new government that will be in power after the general election this year?
IR’s performance has become closely linked to the personality of its political head, namely the Minister of Railways. Continuity at that level therefore becomes crucial for any meaningful enunciation of long-term goals and implementation strategies. While the tenure of the first incumbent lasted the full term of UPA-1, thereafter the turnover has been rather rapid for various reasons, progressively reducing from two years to an average of about seven months each for the four ministers that followed. One minister was unceremoniously sacked in the midst of a budget session for daring to raise passenger fares. Another had to step down in ignominy under a cloud of corruption charges; surely not the ideal way a crucial economic ministry and the country’s premier transport organisation should have been handled. Any future government needs to treat the railways portfolio with greater seriousness and certainly not as a sop for managing coalition pressures.
Impressive performance, but…

Despite the relative turbulence at the top, particularly over the last five years, the physical performance of IR has not been inconsiderable. Compared to 2004-05, originating freight loading is set to increase by 74.4 per cent in 2013-14, freight net tonne km by 62 per cent and passenger km by 93.9 per cent. 712 trains were extended and frequencies of 306 trains were increased. All this while the track km increased by 38 per cent and the route km by only 3.1 per cent, indicating a thrust on doubling rather than new lines. The number of accidents dropped sharply by 48 per cent from 234 during 2004-05 to 121 in 2012-13 and 87 up to December 2013.
The performance appears impressive, yet when viewed against Railways’ own Vision 2020, it lags far behind (except in the case of accidents). For example, Vision 2020 had projected an originating freight loading of 2,165 MT by 2019-20, which means an ‘asking rate’ of about 150 MT incremental loading annually from now till 2020 — a virtual impossibility. The case was similar for other performance parameters.
The decade that has gone by has perhaps seen a record number of reports by various Committees and sundry other documents. Starting with the One Man Committee (2004) on the Godhra train fire (Disclosure: this writer was one of the technical experts that assisted that Committee) whose final report (2006) has never seen the light of the day, there was Vision 2020 (2009), a White Paper (2009) to clean up the accounting legerdemain of the previous regime, the Kakodkar Committee Report on rail safety (2012), closely followed by the Sam Pitroda Committee on modernisation of Railways (2012). Going back a few years, there was the Rakesh Mohan Committee Report on organisational restructuring and the report of the Railway Safety Review Committee (Khanna Committee) around the turn of the millennium, apart from a clutch of Status Papers and White Papers. All the wisdom necessary is available in these reports.
Lesson for any new government: Do not appoint any more committees and waste public funds. Also never appoint a committee to score political points.
Nothing exposed the influence of politics’ recent popular lore as the ‘turnaround miracle’ of the organisation, roughly spanning the period 2005-2008. A spurt in the freight earnings by loading wagons beyond their marked carrying capacity was celebrated as a revolutionary breakthrough and management wizardry, instead of seeing it as what it essentially was: an emergency one-time measure that boosted freight earnings over a limited period. Unfortunately the “success” of this initiative also spawned some very imaginative accounting practices that culminated in projecting a cash surplus of almost Rs.90,000 crore at the beginning of 2009. It is another matter that the regime that followed commissioned a White Paper exposing the discrepancies in the accounting procedures.
Further, amidst the euphoria generated, two important factors that helped the ‘turnaround’ were ignored (i) the fact that the extra loading would have been unthinkable had the huge backlog of track renewals not been overtaken by that time, helped to a large extent by the extra funds made available through the Special Railway Safety Fund, a singular initiative of the preceding administration and; (ii) the wholly fortuitous circumstance of a booming economy.
The fickleness of the ‘turnaround’ was quickly exposed once the impact of the Sixth Pay Commission began to be felt accompanied by a downturn in the global economy. An oft-repeated promise made, but never fulfilled (fortunately) by successive Railway ministers, was “to fill all vacancies” within a particular time frame, say one year. It may be relevant to mention that the increase in traffic over the last decade referred to earlier was handled even as the staff on roll reduced from 14.2 lakh in 2004-05 to 13.1 lakh by March 31, 2013, a reduction of more than 1 lakh.
Why is it that despite a fairly impressive performance in physical terms there is a persisting dissatisfaction with the Railways performance amongst the public?
There are several reasons: Poor quality of service in terms of cleanliness, punctuality, promptness, courtesy and disaster management; inadequate capacity on the passenger front, which hopefully will ease somewhat with the commissioning of the Dedicated Freight Corridors; and the eagerness to introduce new train services, which has stretched the Railways’ resources literally to breaking point. While it may be politically inexpedient to put a total embargo on new trains (as recommended by the Kakodkar Committee), it will be a wise policy for the new government to restrict the number to the bare minimum each year with the condition that a new service will be introduced only after a corresponding withdrawal of poorly patronised train services.
Three recent reports that deal with investments are the Vision 2020 (2009), the Kakodkar Committee Report (2012) on rail safety and the Sam Pitroda Committee Report on modernisation. The first two reports envisage an annual Gross Budgetary Support (GBS) from central exchequer of Rs.60,000 crore. With the highest GBS received so far (2013-14) being a little over Rs.27,000 crore (less than 50 per cent of the projected figure), the impracticality of the projections made in these two reports should be obvious.
The looming crisis

Finally, a note of warning for the immediate future: gear up for a major financial crisis in the Railways around 2016-17 when the effects of recommendations of the 7th Commission will kick in. While the Dedicated Freight Corridor projects need to be progressed on top priority, it is highly unlikely that the boost in freight revenues therefrom will be available in time to neutralise the effects of the 7th Pay Commission recommendations. So, prepare right now for a bail-out package, as was done through the Special Railway Safety Fund more than a decade ago.
(K. Balakesari is former Member Staff, Railway Board.) The Hindu dt 13-2-2014

Friday 14 February 2014

Addl stops

(Madhyamam dt 14-2-2014)
(Mathrubhumi dt 14-2-2014)
(Railway Board Order)
(Mathrubhumi dt 11-2-2014))

Wednesday 12 February 2014

Raw deal for Kerala in poll-year railway budget

Kochi: Despite the claims of heavy clout that the Congress leaders from Kerala hold at the Centre, lack of proper homework and lobbying seem to have cost the state dear in the interim railway budget presented in the Parliament on Wednesday. 
    Despite high hopes, the budget has failed to address thelong-pending challengesof both the rail infrastructure andconnectivity in thestate. 
    The budget has announced just three trains—a premium train between Thiruvananthapuram and Bangalore, a bi-weekly train between Thiruvananthapuram and Nizamuddin (one through Kottayam and the other through Alappuzha) and a passenger train between Punalur andKanyakumari. 

    The state was expecting morelong distancetrains, particularly to the north-eastern region, aswell asto placeslike Delhi. But what is more depressing is that the budget did not sanction more short distance MEMU trains to Kerala which has two maintenance stations for such trains re
maining underutilised at Kollam and Palakkad. The much neededcompletion of thedoubling work, electrification, introduction of automatic signalling system and other whole rangeof issueshave not figuredsignificantly. 
    Thereis also no mention of the proposed rail coach factory at Kanjikkode, or surveys for new lines and launch of work on the already announcedlines. 
    The Congress MPs from the state sought to undermine this. “The budget need not restate the on-going projects like rail coach factory at Kanjikkode or the Sabari line, as well as doubling and electrification works. The allocations 
for such works will come as routine,” said Union minister of state Kodikkunnil Sureshsaid. 
    “But the fact remains that the budget speech has not outlined the roadmap for the execution of these projects,” said A Sampath of the CPM. The state minister in charge of Railways, Aryadan Muhamed also said the budget wasdisappointing. 
    But a closelook atthewish list submitted by Kerala to the railway ministry on the projects to be included in the budget would be an eye-opener to the lack of homework on the part of the state. Many of requests made in the 64-page document submitted by the state in November 2013 are repetitions and some are already implemented.Hardly anyone with some expertise on rail development seems to have vettedthedocument. 

    “The state must adopt a focussed approach for railway development. Rather than spreading its attention on too many areas,thestate musttarget select areas,” said P Krishnakumar, generalsecretary of the Thrissur railway passengers’ association.

(T. Ramavarman Times of India dt 13-2-2014)
(Mathrubhumi dt 13-2-2014)

For another reading

Please read again the above article published in Mathrubhumi daily dt 6-4-2010

Tuesday 11 February 2014

Interim nature of Union rail budget fails to dampen Kerala’s hopes

Kochi: The state government, the passengers and the railway officials are optimistic that the interim budget to be presented by Union Railway Minister Mallikarjun Kharge on Wednesday will contain positive announcements on the long-pending demands of the state. 
    The optimism is based on the precedence set by one of his predecessors Lalu Prasad Yadav who made several announcements including introduction of 43 new trains in the interim budget of 2009. 
    The general feeling is that, being an election year the budget will try to be as pleasing as possible. 
    Both the minister Aryadan Muhammed, who is in charge of the railways in Ker
ala, and the railway officials said more trains were likely to be announced for Kerala in the interim budget. 
    “We are hopeful that some trains will be announced to Kerala giving more connectivity to the North-East sector. There is a heavy demand for train seats in the sector because of the massive inflow of migrant labourers from the region to the state. Some trains are likely to be introduced to other regions also,” a senior railway official said here. 

    The official said the budget was likely to allocate more funds for completing the doubling work, for the launch of the Sabari rail line, survey of the proposed Nilambur-Nanjankode line, and for gauge conversion of the Punalur- Chenkotta railway line. 
    There are also hopes of introduction of more MEMU trains for short-distance travel. The railway official said there was a possibility of allocation for expansion of the maintenance station at Nemom and for railway line to the proposed container terminal to Vizhijnjam. 
    Aryadan Muhammed said the state government had also taken up the demand for starting a railway zone in Kerala and for introducing better coaches for the trains 
running through the state. 
    The railway official said the budget was unlikely to make any announcement on the proposed rail coach factory at Kanjikkode considering the disputes surrounding it on land acquisition and various other issues. 
    “Introduction of MEMU trains, doubling of Ernakulam – Kayamkulam sector through Kottayam and Alappuzha and, introduction of the automatic signaling system across the state, are the three developments that the Railways must give topmost priority in Kerala,” said Thrissur Railway Passengers’ Association general secretary, P Krishnakumar. “The doubling can be completed only if the state government expedited land acquisition,” he said.

(T Ramavarman Times of India dt 12-2-2014)

Monday 10 February 2014

Priority identified

Finally State Govt. has understood the priority.
(Malayala Manorama Kottayam dt 11-2-2014)

Sunday 9 February 2014

Now automatic SMS after confirmation of Indian railway waitlisted tickets

Waitlisted passengers will soon get status messages in their mobile phones if their tickets get confirmed before journey.
A senior Railway Ministry official said the waitlisted passenger will get a SMS about the status of the ticket on the mobile phone number given at the time of ticket booking before the journey.
Currently, one has to either dial the enquiry number 139 or use the Internet to know the waitlisted ticket status. Others get to know the status of their tickets only after reaching stations.
"Once the SMS-based service is operational, passengers will get the updated status of their waitlisted tickets automatically," the official said, adding "only those passengers will get the message whose tickets get confirmed."
CRIS, the technological arm of Railways, is making the software for the SMS-based service.
IRCTC has already launched a system for booking tickets using mobile phones.

Friday 7 February 2014

VN Manoj

Shri.V.N. Manoj is one of our active member & close friend.
(Madhyamam dt 7-2-2014)

Monday 3 February 2014

Shunting accident stresses need for advanced train repair unit in state

Coaches Now Taken To Chennai For Major Repair

Kochi: The accident that led to the crushing of a rail coach during shunting at Kochuveli on Sunday points to acute shortage of maintenance facilities and deficit of new coaches, say experts. 
    Railway officials, however, asserted that they are sending coaches for regular maintenance and there are enough coaches to run existing trains. According to them, there are 81 mail and express trains and 67 passenger trains running in the Thiruvananthapuram division which together require 1,700 coaches. For any major overhaul, the coaches are sent to the railway workshop at Peramboor near Chennai. 
    “Being located at the southern tip of the country, there are many trains which stop at Thiruvananthapuram, Kanyakumari or Nagercoil. Their coaches are taken for major maintenance to Peramboor, which is 600km away. It is critical to have a proper maintenance station in the southern tip of the country,” said Thrissur railway passengers’ association general secretary P 
    This can be done by augmenting the infrastructure at the Nemom maintenance station or starting a new facility, he said. 
    He recalled state minister Aryadan Muhammed stating that over 70% of the coaches running in the state are over 25 years old. However, railway divisional manager Sunil Bajpai denied this. “The life span of a coach is 25 years and we have no coaches above that age in use in the division,” he said. 
    “The coaches are sent to Chennai only for periodic overhauls. Intermediate overhauls, which cover most of the rou
tine repairs, could be done at Nemom,” he said. 
    Krishnakumar said it was also critical to speed up the construction of the proposed coach factory at Kanjikkode as the Railways often cite the paucity of coaches as reason for not replacing old coaches and starting new trains. 
    However, the divisional manager claimed that it was the constraints of rail line development rather than shortage of coaches that was slowing down introduction of new trains. 
    He said the report of the enquiry into the shunting accident was expected in five days.
(T.Ramavarman, Times of India dt 4-2-2014)