`Investments spurring growth of rail network in remote areas`

Heavy investments by companies involved in sectors like shipping and mining have helped bringing railway connectivity to many remote corners in country, Railway Board Chairman Arunendra Kumar said.

Allahabad: Heavy investments by companies involved in sectors like shipping and mining have helped bringing railway connectivity to many remote corners in the country, Railway Board Chairman Arunendra Kumar said here on Thursday.
Addressing a news conference, Kumar said the investments were "mainly helping freight as the companies show willingness to bear the cost of transportation of goods to their desired destinations from far-off coal mines, or mines rich in other minerals, and ports. For the passengers, the Railways have to depend on its own resources".

He, however, cautioned "it would be wrong to think that the Railways` troubles end because of investments by companies. They might give us the money, but we thereafter need to ensure that land is available and there is proper arrangement for security as it is generally seen that regions rich in minerals are in the throes of ultra-Left insurgency".

To a query, the Railway Board Chairman said, "We have been conducting successful trial runs of the Train Collision Advance System at Secunderabad. We look forward to start a pilot project in the near future wherein TCAS would be put to test in normal traffic."

He, however, added that "the earlier version, popularly known as Anti-Collision Device, has been found to be defective and hence shelved".

About trains being excessively delayed during foggy weather, he said, "Our primary objective always is to ensure safety of the passengers. To achieve this end, we are left with no other choice except to cancel a number of trains and order slowing down of the running ones.

"Normal speed under foggy weather can be achieved through the cab-signalling system which is very expensive and may not be viable in a developing economy like ours and also in view of the vastness of the Indian Railways` network."

Speaking at the same press conference, General Manager of
the North Central Railway Pradeep Kumar said, "A move is afoot to adopt the Flash Butt Welding System, which reduces the need for jointing of tracks, in a big way."

"This would be helpful in minimising mishaps like the tragic derailment of Kalka Express near Fatehpur in 2011 which had claimed more than 50 lives and which, our inquiry has concluded, was a result of an obsolete welding system which caused the joints to give way when the train passed through," he said.

To another query relating to the stampede at the Kumbh Mela here last year which had killed about 40 pilgrims, the NCR GM said, "We have submitted our findings with the judicial inquiry commission set up by the Uttar Pradesh government. We hope that the public would soon be able to have a clear picture of what may have caused the tragedy and what preemptive measures could have been taken."

"At present, we can only divulge that there was an unexpected influx of pilgrims at the Allahabad Junction from the Civil Lines side while all our preparations were made under the assumption that people would mostly try to enter through the old city side.

"We have taken our lessons from the tragedy and our arrangements ensured a smooth and uneventful ingress and egress of pilgrims from the station during the Magh Mela this year which had witnessed larger than usual crowds," he claimed.