Connecting the land of the rising Sun – Arunachal Pradesh

 History was created by the Indian Railways on 7th April 2014 when the first passenger train ran upto Naharlagun thereby bringing Itanagar, the capital of Arunachal Pradesh – the land of the rising sun, into the railway map of India. Later on, on 20th February, 2015 the Prime Minister flagged off from Itanagar the AC Express between Naharlagun and New Delhi and the Intercity Express between Naharlagun and Guwahati thereby connecting Itanagar to the Capital of India and the premier city of the North-East.

The 21.75 Kms. Long Harmuti – Naharlagun section has been built at a cost of about Rs. 590 crores. Before this, Arunachal Pradesh had only 1.26 Km. of railway line inside its border with the only station being Bhalukpong in the East Kameng district. With the commissioning of this line, Itanagar has become the second State capital of the Northeast (after Guwahati) to have Broad Gauge rail connectivity (Agartala, the capital of Tripura has Metre Gauge line at present).

This project was sanctioned in the railway budget of 1996-97 as a Metre Gauge line. The approval of the State Government was received in 2006 but the alignment had to be changed in 2010 on the request of the State Government and finally the line was taken up as a Broad Gauge line from Harmuti in Assam to Naharlagun (near Itanagar) in Arunachal Pradesh.

The commissioning of this line has opened up a vista of development for the State of Arunachal Pradesh. It will ensure that the people of the state can now travel to any place in India with much less hardship an in faster time. This will also give a much needed boost to the economic development of this backward state and unleash its tremendous tourism potential.



Mumbaikar gets Triple Bonanza from its “Lifeline” with new ATVMS, Automatic Doors & New MUTP – Phase II Rakes.




          Today being a Sunday, Harsh, a college student alongwith his friends has decided to go on a one day excursion to visit the popular joints of Mumbai. They have decided to assemble near the booking office at the stipulated time, so that they can purchase tickets and accordingly board the train.


Vivek, Harsh's friend joked at his friend's folly to purchase tickets from the booking windows in this era of technology and the advancements made by the Railways to its valuable customers. Vivek introduced Harsh and his other friends the concept of 'Smart Cards' initiated by the Railways for its commuters to avoid standing in queues before the counters and wasting valuable time. Vivek popped out the Smart Card from his wallet and purchased the tickets from one of the several ATVM kiosks installed across the station premises. In a jiffy, came out the tickets from the kiosks, without any hassles and troubles of any sort. Harsh and his friends were wonder struck by this brilliant endeavor from the Railways.


It was then that their eyes fell on the campaign booth set up by the Western Railways to create awareness about these modern ticketing facilities of ATVM cards & Mobile Ticketing. The word 'Mobile Ticketing' caught their attention and their curiosity overtook them to the campaign booth. The facilitator at the booth was very courteous to explain these bunch of friends, the merits of ATVM smart cards like - easy to recharge options, 5% bonus on each recharge, with a minimum value of Rs. 20 & maximum of Rs.5000/- and the facility to purchase not only daily journey tickets of First/Second class, Single/Return, Adult/Child but also to renew the Season tickets, Platform tickets and now even Mail/Express unreserved tickets can be purchased with ease and convenience.


The facilitator further introduced them to the newly added attraction to the modern ticketing i.e. the 'Mobile Ticketing App' which is a great boon to the tech-savvy youths having smart phones. This is a new advance technology brought out by Western Railway in its pursuit to ensure booking of tickets by the commuters at the fingertips in the comfort of their homes. Under this technology, all that the user is required to do is, to download the mobile app "UTS" from the Android/Window based smart phone, sign up and thereafter 'R-Wallet' with zero balance will be created, which can be recharged with a minimum amount of Rs.100/- at any booking windows or online through The Unreserved railway tickets can be booked by login in with the mobile number and then the print can be taken from the ATVM kiosks installed at all the Mumbai Suburban stations of Western Railway. Harsh and his friends were so impressed that everyone purchased a Smart Card and vowed to use them and also spread this beneficial information to others too.


On their onward journey, they were lucky enough to board the new age rake introduced by Western Railway which has a very impressive look, both the exterior as well as the interiors. The well ventilated & illuminated interiors, large windows, newly designed grab handles made an imposing environment inside the train and the journey pleasing.


The friends got down at Bandra station and on their way out, they came across the exhibition set up by Western Railway showcasing the grandeur of this Heritage station building and the various chronicles in the history of Western Railway. The friends were really amazed by the miniature working models of the various trains that ply over Western Railway, in addition, to the replica of the Bandra heritage station and the various informative exhibits which were like a motion picture before their eyes. The past, present and the future of the Western Railways unfolded through the various rare pictures and statistics like open pages of encyclopedia.


The exhibits also displayed the various new & futuristic revolutionary steps being initiated and introduced by the Western Railway to provide world class facilities to its customers. The modernization and face lifting of railway stations provision of escalators, security cover through CCTVs at stations and also inside coaches, automatic door rakes, Wi Fi facilities at various stations, various facilities to Sr. Citizens and differentially abled persons, e-catering facilities etc. etc. The list was endless…….


All these have left the group of friends awestruck and in admiration towards the Railways. Harsh & his friends have given a "thumbs up" to the Western Railway and have promised to spread the knowledge amongst their near and dear ones too.


Western Railway has truely upheld its motto "Serving Customers with a Smile". The magical facilities with the help of modern technology provided by Western Railway recently including ATVM & Mobile Ticketing have really pleased all the Mumbaikars & the appreciation in this regard is marching ahead towards a better and bright future.




Pilgrimage to Vaishno Devi Shrine becomes more convenient with direct Rail Connectivity to Katra



        Katra is a small town in Reasi district of Jammu & Kashmir state, situated on the foothills of the Trikuta mountains. The world famous Mata Vaishno Devi holy shrine, devoted to Goddess Durga, is located just 14 kms away from this town.  Around 10 million pilgrims visit this shrine every year, trekking from Katra, which serves as the base camp, as the shrine is situated on a mountain. As a result, Katra has a thriving tourism industry. Until last year, this town was connected to the rest of the country just by road transport. Recognizing the need for the facility for mass transportation at affordable rates for the pilgrims, tourists and travellers to this town, the Railways had planned and were working on a railway line in this area.


Prime Minister, Shri Narender Modi inaugurated the new Udhampur-Katra railway line bringing Katra on country’s railway map last year. Along with this new railway line, the PM also inaugurated the newly constructed Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Katra Station, which is equipped with modern facilities, including tourist guide counter, cloak room, waiting hall, VIP lounge, escalators, lifts and parking spaces. The four platforms of this station can accommodate 26-coach trains. This station is powered with Solar energy.


Now pilgrims can directly travel by train up to Katra, the base camp for Vaishno Devi. Earlier, they used to reach Jammu by train and then take a road journey to reach Katra, before departing on the trek for darshan at the shrine. This was a little tedious. Now with direct rail connectivity at Katra, the journey has become more affordable and comfortable especially for senior citizens and children.


Udhampur-Katra rail route was a very challenging project as it passes through a very hostile terrain. The expenditure incurred for construction of this rail section is Rs. 1132.75 Crs.  


This section is 25.6 km long involving 10.90km of tunneling, one important bridge, 7 major bridges, 29 minor bridges and 11 Road-Over-Bridges, 1 Road-Under-Bridge, one pipe-line crossing, 3 Foot-Over-Bridges in addition to about 38.86 lac cum of earthwork. The tallest bridge in this section is 85m high (Br. No. 20) and the longest tunnel is 3.12km long (tunnel No. 1).  The entire stretch is very picturesque.


This Udhampur-Katra is part of the ambitious project of the Indian Railways, which will connect the Kashmir valley with the rest of the nation through railways. This complete project is Jammu--Udhampur--Katra--Banihal--Qazigund--Anantnag,--Srinagar—Badgaon--Sopore—Baramullah Rail Link. All the sections except Katra-Banihal (130 kms) are connected by the railways. The work on Katra-Banihal rail connectivity is in progress. This is the most challenging and difficult part of the entire rail link.



 Barak Valley in Assam comes on Country’s Broad Gauge Railway Map with the completion of Lumding-Silchar Broad Gauge Conversion..


The New Railway Link to Pave way for providing seamless Railway Connectivity to South Assam, Manipur, Mizoram and Tripura with the rest of the Nation.


The Railway Line will be Cruicial for the Supply of Foodgrains, Fertilizers, Petroleum Products and other Necesssary Commodities to the Region 





Long standing dream of the people in Barak Valley of south Assam of getting connected with rest of the nation through broad gauge (BG)  railway connectivity was fulfilled when new Lumding-Silchar broad gauge railway line was inaugurated this year. Goods train have already started chugging on this new railway line and  passenger trains will ply on this section soon after getting clearance from Commissioner of Railway Safety. Local inhabitants are thrilled and proud to be on National Broad Gauge railway map.

The project is being executed in two phases. While Lumding-Silchar section marks the Phase-1 of the project, Phase-II consists of gauge conversion of three sections namely; Badarpur – Kumarghat, Baraigram - Dullabcherra and Silchar-Jiribam, targeted for completion by 31.03.2016. On completion of works of Phase-II, Manipur, Mizoram and Tripura will also get connected through Broad Gauge Railway network. This line will be used for transporting food-grains, fertilizers, petroleum products etc. for these states.

This railway line heralds a new era of broad gauge connectivity in North-Eastern region and after completion of Phase II will work as lifeline for Barak valley in Assam and the states of Tripura, Manipur & Mizoram. Being a bulk carrier, it will provide a cheaper means of supply of essential commodities to these areas and prevent shortages during road blockades and inclement weather conditions.

This 210 KM. long Lumdin-Silchar line one of the largest gauge conversion projects of Indian Railways completed at a cost of Rs. 3500 crore. This new railway line has 79 major bridges, 340 minor bridges and 21 tunnels. The project was completed despite difficult hilly terrain, geologically unstable hills and poor law & order cconditions and has been appreciated as an engineering marvel in all respects. A number of railway men sacrificed their lives during completion of this project. 

Due to immaculate planning, innovative solutions to the problems, team spirit, round the clock working and tireless efforts of officers, staff and contractors of North-east Frontier Railway, this challenging project could be completed within the targeted date of 31st March, 2015.

This line is bound to change the landscape of the region and usher the Barak Valley along with the States of Manipur, Tripura and Mizoram to the new era of socio-economic development.


One of the last of the Northeastern States namely Meghalaya

brought to Railway Map of India

Even after 150 years of first passenger train running on Indian soil and more than 130 years after the first passenger train ran in the Northeast, Meghalaya was the second state in the Northeast without a railway line (the other being Sikkim) till November last year. That dubious distinction was laid to rest and history was created when Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi flagged off the first passenger train from Mendipathar in Meghalaya to Guwahati, the capital of Assam at a function held in Guwahati at 5.50 p.m. on 29th November 2014.

Linking Meghalaya to the Railway Map of India was a part of Indian Railways long-cherished goal of connecting all state capital of the Northeast. The first attempt to link Meghalaya was made in 1992-93 when a railway line from Dudhnai Assam to Depa in Meghalaya was sanctioned in that year’s Railway Budget. Subsequently, in 2005 the State Government of Meghalaya requested to construct a broad gauge railway line from Dudhnai to Mendipathar instead of Depa in Meghalaya. The project was accordingly re-aligned and work commenced in November 2008. The project was completed at a cost of about Rs. 275 crores and it received clearance of Commissioner of Railway Safety in August 2014. Out of the total length of 19.62 kilometre of the line, 9.49 kilometres is inside Meghalaya and the rest 10.26 kilometres is in Assam.

One of the unique features of the 19.62 km railway line is that there is no level crossing on the section. Instead, 19 Road Under Bridges / Limited Height Subways were constructed to facilitate unhindered road traffic. There are 52 minor bridges and 3 major bridges in the section which has ruling gradient of 1 in 150.

Speaking after flagging off the train, the Prime Minister said, “those who believe in Vastu Shastra know that ‘ishan kon’ (the northeast corner) of a house should be taken care of. Likewise, the Northeast should be developed for the progress of the country’. More than 3000 people had gathered at Mendipathar railway station to see through video link the Prime Minister flagging off the first train. Former Lok Sabha Speaker Purno Agitok Sangma, who was present at Mendipathar said, “When Modi waved the green flag, I felt Garo Hills is moving forward to a better future.” Speaking to a journalist, a doctor from Baghmara in South Garo Hills of Meghalaya, Jacob Marak said, “I am here to celebrate Garo Hills getting connected to rest of India. It is proud moment for me.”

The passenger train between Mendipathar and Guwahati, numbered as 55820 Down / 55819 Up Guwahati – Mendipathar passenger leaves Guwahati daily at 6:10 PM to arrive at Mendipathar at 10 PM. The 55819 Up Mendipathar – Guwahati passenger leaves Mendipathar daily at 7 AM to reach Guwahati at 11:20 AM.


Indian Railways helping hand to Nepal in hour of Tragedy


India shares close ties with Nepal since time immemorial.  Cultural similarity binds us further with Nepal, our dear neighbour.  Recently Natural calamity in form of an earthquake struck Nepal leaving death & destruction in its trail.  India rose to the occasion to help its neighbour in this hour of pain & crisis.

India was first to send assistance to Nepal.  Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi personally led India’s efforts in relief & rescue operation in the quake-ravaged Nepal.

Under the directions of the Hon’ble Prime Minister, all concerned Ministries of Government of India  contributed in the relief work for the earthquake victims of Nepal. Indian Railways too geared up its machinery to contribute to the cause. Under the leadership of Minister of Railways Shri Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu, railway officials geared up to extend all necessary help to the affected people. The Railway Minister himself closely monitored the relief measure being taken.

To tide over the drinking water crisis, Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corporation(IRCTC) , the Railway PSU, supplied 4 lakh Rail Neer Bottles through Indian Air Force to Nepal.

In order to ensure that all evacuees reach their destination within India with the least amount of trouble, the rail heads at the point of entry from Nepal and some other concerned stations were fully geared up to provide all possible assistance to Nepal.

Northern Railway opened a special Railway Reservation counter at T-3 International Airport at Delhi for facilitating railway travel of Nepal earthquake evacuees who had been airlifted from Kathmandu. North Eastern Railway made special travel arrangements at Gorakhpur Railway station in Uttar Pradesh, whereas East Central Railway made special arrangements at Raxaul railway station in Bihar for the people coming from Nepal. Special help booths and first aid centres were set up at these border stations for the benefit of earthquake affected persons.  The stranded persons coming from Nepal were provided berths/seat in trains to facilitate their travel to different destinations by attaching additional coaches and running special trains.  Thousands of stranded passengers were cleared for different destinations. As a special gesture, the Government  provided free railway tickets to needy persons. Free transportation of all the relief material for Nepal earthquake survivors is being done by Indian railways through movement of parcel vans to Raxaul.

To ensure availability of adequate stock of petroleum products in Nepal, additional goods trains of petrol/diesel tanks were pressed into service and were moved to Raxaul in the shortest possible time.


Paperless Unreserved Ticket – A Step towards Passenger Convenience



Suburban ticketing on Indian Railway system goes hi-tech.

 In the ongoing efforts to improve access to and availability of unreserved tickets and as part of the ‘Operation Five Minutes’ initiative of the Hon’ble Minister of Railways, announced in the Railway Budget 2015,  Indian Railways has developed a mobile phone application through which suburban tickets can be booked on Smart phones. 

This is new technology brought out by Indian Railways bringing the new concept of Paperless Unreserved Ticketing through Mobile phones. It is a pilot project and will be extended to other areas in a phased manner. This application has been developed by the Centre for Railway Information Systems (CRIS), the IT arm of Indian Railways. Under this technology, a mobile application ‘UTS on mobile’ both for Android and Windows platform has been developed and user can download “App” from Google Play Store or Window Store.  This application takes away the inconvenience of having to wait in a queue in order to buy the ticket.  This would not only save time, but also avoid the usage of paper for tickets.  Given the huge popularity of the e-ticketing facility for reserved tickets, it is felt that this paperless mobile ticket facility will be equally popular among Railway users buying unreserved tickets. 


The ‘UTS on mobile’ application was introduced in Chennai and Mumbai for suburban journey tickets earlier this year but the ticket printout is still required.  In this a Smart phone user downloads this app from Google Play Store and   charges his Railway wallet either from a booking office or through the internet using the IRCTC payment gateway.  Once this is done, he can book his ticket.  Thereafter he goes to the ATVM at the journey starting station and prints out his paper ticket.  

The next stage introduced paperless tickets on the Chennai Egmore-Tambaram suburban section on a pilot basis. With this, the need to go to an ATVM to print the ticket has been done away with at the stations between Chennai Egmore and Tambaram.  Instead the passengers will carry the ticket on the mobile as an image.  Using the same mobile app, the passengers can now book their ticket and carry it on their phone.                 

For paperless ticketing, GPS co-ordinates of suburban railway track on the Chennai Egmore-Tambaram section, plus 15 meters on either side of the tracks have been earmarked as Geo-Fencing area within which no ticket booking is allowed in order to ensure that passengers have ticket before commencing the journey. 

The application provides necessary on-screen alerts to guide the passenger during the booking process.  The paperless journey ticket once booked will be stored in the local mobile application database in the encryptedform which cannot be tamperedwith.  The passenger has to start the journey within 1 hour as per policy for suburban sections.  Ticket booked in paperless mode cannot be cancelled in order to prevent claiming of refund after travel.


The ticket has distinct colour scheme everyday and it is embedded with Quick Response (QR) code. It cannot be forwarded to another mobile or edited or printed.  The old invalid tickets will be removed from the mobile device through a sync feature in the ‘App’.


For the purpose of ticket checking, the application has various features such as colour scheme, show ticket features, secret code of the day, booking time of the ticket and scrolling of legend “IR UNRESERVED TICKETING’.


This new facility is a first step in the implementation of ‘Operation Five Minutes’ scheme announced in the Railway Budget this year, i.e.purchase of an unreserved ticket within 5 minutes.



Wi-Fi Facility at Railway Stations Provides Convenience, Pleasure and Business Opportunities for Users


Punit Kumar works for a Multinational Company, in Gurgaon, Haryana.  He has to visit Chennai for some official work.  To ensure that he reaches in time to catch the train, keeping the possibility of traffic jams enroute, he leaves early and reaches the station 1 1/2 hr before the departure of the train.  Now, how to spend this time fruitfully?


Since he is tech savvy, he has the wonderful option of surfing the internet on his smart phone while waiting on the platform. Courtesy:  the Indian Railways! Now Wi-Fi broadband internet facility is available at New Delhi station. The best thing about this facility is that for the initial period of 30 minutes on a mobile connection, it is free of charge. The cost beyond free usage is nominal, Rs. 25 for 30 minutes and Rs. 35 for one hour.


Punit Kumar immediately registers himself to avail this facility and starts surfing. In a hurry, he had forgotten to book accommodation for his stay at Chennai.  So the first thing he does is to book a Retiring Room at Chennai Railway Station, using the on line facility provided for this purpose by Indian Railways. He utilizes his time as he books e-tickets for future train journeys.  Then he completes pending office work and in the remaining time he downloads the latest Bollywood  blockbusters.  He is smart, as he has also activated Wi-Fi on his other mobile number in his dual-SIM-Smartphone which enables him to enjoy additional 30 minutes of internet surfing free of cost. Later he approaches the 24x7 Helpdesk of the Wi-Fi provider at the station for taking further internet facility through payment.


Indian Railways has currently commissioned Wi-Fi broadband internet facility at 9 stations, namely Bengaluru, New Delhi, Chennai, Agra, Ahmedabad, Varanasi, Howrah, Secunderabad and CST Mumbai. Indian Railways plans to provide Wi-Fi broadband services at all ‘A1’ category stations, presently 75 in number and ‘A’ category stations, which are 332. The facility in the remaining A1 and A category stations will be extended in a phased manner and is likely to be completed by Dec. 2016.  Further, Wi-Fi facility at ‘B’ category stations, a total of 302 stations at present, will be extended under ‘Digital India’, an initiative of the Government of India. The Railway Ministry is already coordinating for this with Department of Electronics & Information Technology under the Ministry of Communication.


The Wi-Fi project on Indian Railways is being executed by RailTel Corporation of India, a Public Sector Undertaking of the Ministry of Railways.