Railways


Trichy city is expanding.. ………..TOI reports that there are plans in preliminary stages to include suburbs like Thiruvarembur into Trichy so that the infrastructure projects and other necessary amenities can be brought on par with the current Trichy city. The Trichy city is about 146Sq.km. now and will expand to 240 Sq.Km. Looks like the plans in the prelim stages and there are plans to expand other cities like Coimbatore also in the works.

One of the reason cited for this plan is to include those suburbs in the multi crore development projects. Usually the urban centers get the lion’s share in these projects .. Now we are just increasing the size of the pie so that the urban wealth can be distributed to these panchayats also.

Good Plan, in my opinion. But not sure If  and when it will come to fruition. ( May be the cynic in me is talking here….)

The Railway Workshop – an iconic entity in ponmalai – is getting modernised.

I don’t remember this happening for a long time. But whenever I go between Chennai and Trichy by train,  Golden Rock workshop is the reminder for me to pick up my bags and get ready to depart in TPJ. But also, sometimes, the trains will stop in Golden Rock due to non-availability of signal to get into TPJ and it will just frustrate me like crazy. So I have no choice but to stare at the Golden Rock workshops till the train starts.

Coming back to modernisation, I always thought that the railway infrastructure that we have in India is among the best. Considering after seeing how railways are poorly utilised in US and Gulf countries, ( Europe is awesome) , I wish we can supply and service many countries with our expertise in Railways.

As part of GoldenRock modernisation plan ,

  • bulk of the funds amounting to Rs. 68.78 crore would be spent for acquiring modern mechanical equipment and replacement of the old machines, while Rs. 15.14 crore would be utilised for augmenting infrastructure facilities and repairs of structures under ‘civil’ works.
  • As part of the technological upgrade plan, a modern laboratory will be established at a cost of Rs. 2.5 crore inside the workshop for material testing which is at present being done in Chennai.
  • A special purpose multi-station machine –‘PAMA’ – costing Rs. 40 crore for carrying out repairs of engine blocks; a robotic welding system with automation and portable plasma profile cutting machine are some of the major advanced equipment to be procured under the modernisation.
  • The three Traversors, which are the lifeline of the workshop, would be replaced and the Basic Training Centre upgraded.
  • Work on the huge shed inside the workshop to accommodate high horsepower General Motors locomotives would be completed before July.

Trichy is getting a new train to connect itself to Madurai daily. In this year’s railway budget, out of 43 new train services , 5 new services are in TN.   The train schedule is not announced yet but can be expected that it runs according to the office schedule in both directions.

Similarly, they need to increase the speed of the trains that run to chennai from trichy. It feels like it takes awful lot of time in both direction. We will see.

The ordeal of passengers who has to move from Platform 2 and Platform 3 towards Platform 1 will be eased by the proposed subway which will connect these platforms in the station. The work for implementing this started this week with all the three platforms suspending traffic on them. The traffic should have resumed by Thursday. The flooring, fixing tiles on the side walls, roofing, lighting, construction of stair cases leading to the platforms will be undertaken after this.

The estimate is Rs. 40 Lakhs and should take about 45 days for completion.

This should help the normal public to some extent in Srirangam.

The Railway Board is launching a new campaign to promote cleanliness in the railway stations and hygiene on station premises, in passenger trains, railway lines and waiting rooms. Select stations will be identified for mechanised cleaning of nominated trains during their halt in the stations. Garbage and left over food/other catering waste would be collected from trains when they arrive at the stations.

Other high points in this are :

  • Major railway stations will be provided mechanised high-pressure jets to clean platforms.
  • Dustbins and garbage bags will be provided to the railway stations and will be kept in more places than now for easy garbage disposal.
  • Garbage generated in coaches/trains will be collected at the end of the train journey.
  • Garbage from station premises, platforms, yards, track in the station area will also be collected on a regular basis.
  • Trains such as Shatabdi/ Rajdhani will have cleaning staff on board to collect garbage.
  • More health inspectors for many stations.

This drive is being undertaken by Railway because IR is observing the “Cleanliness Year”

Now , think about this… It is being done by IR because it has attached some campaign to the year. Aren’t these basic amenities that any paying customer expect to get from any travel vendor like clean environment etc.  It is a shame that general public need some campaign year to get this.

Also, trains like Shatabtdi will get cleaning staff onboard.. Why not in every train..?  Just because they are paying less than Shatabdi prices, they should travel in an unclean environment. ?

One thing they should add to this list of things… Insulate the toilets and toilet doors from letting the smell out into the coaches. It does not matter which part of the compartment you are in , the smell finds a way to you.

I think the most of the hygiene issue will arise from the tracks itself just because of the pathetic design of the toilets in the coaches and its disposal mechanism of waste.

India is making strides in designing cars for Detroit, making cellphones for the world and launching satellites to Space, but could not take care of the design of railway toilets and general cleanliness in the trains ?
Disgrace……..

We are all enamored about the focus of IT and ITES companies who are looking at the Tier II and Tier III cities. But now it appears that due to the enormous congestion in Tier I cities, the development of industrial clusters, corridors, estates, hubs and a whole lot of units in the services sector are choking themselves in this congestion and the private and public companies ( Non IT) are looking to move their facilities to smaller cities.

Nasscom has identified the following cities for rapid growth in the very neat future.

Chandigarh, Pune, Visakhapatnam, Vijayawada, Mangalore, Mysore, Kochi, Coimbatore, Madurai, and Tiruchi.

But they also identify that the cities like Pune and Coimbatore are already overcrowded and falling into the same vicious cycle of more growth leads to more migration which leads to more growth and they think this cities are reaching a tipping point in favour of other tier II cities. The pressure on these towns has begun to show, exposing once more the inadequacies of the systems, and the inability of the private sector and the government agencies to act in tandem to promote new investment centres.

So what is the expectation of these companies ?

Better physical and social infrastructure in these towns.

So what infrastructure they are talking about ? Physical and Social infrastructure like below.

Physical infrastructure will include roads, transport, services, housing, air and rail connectivity, while social infrastructure should provide for educational institutions, health services, recreation facilities, and hotels.

Some of the companies are going away from the SEZ type development where they will build a township with all the amenities in a conclave somewhere outside the city. ( It reminds me of BHEL township.. It is so yesteryears…. We need to get over this)

Cognizant’s Managing Director and President R. Chandrasekaran says: “The primary reason for the IT industry to be attracted to a Tier II city or a Tier III city is its educational infrastructure and the resultant quality talent pool. The second important criterion is infrastructure. Availability of ‘A’ category commercial real estate space, preferably with SEZ notification, good roads, airport with good connectivity, and good hotels, is important.

Even if one or more of these may not exist initially, visible efforts to develop them in parallel become important. Otherwise, the initial enthusiasm will die down and companies may not grow in these locations.”

How very true.. It clearly says that the expectation from these companies is not that everything like great infrastructure should exist before they move in , but the public and private companies should have a plan to improve the infrastructure and should execute the same with a plan. These companies are ready to grow with the city but just needs a promise and a plan with honest execution.

Is is too tall to ask ?

I don’t think so.. This is a great opportunity for Trichy to wake up and add up / Speed up its already improving facilities.

Source: The Hindu.

Well..Actually it is getting more than a face lift. When you enter the Station complex , you will be greeted by vintage Steam engine. And the old vintage Station building is getting a face lift with new neon lights and new paint.

But with the station complex, the old adage ” Beauty is only skin deep” does not apply. In addition to the above mentioned changes, the platforms are getting a new look also. Check out the photos below.

Station1 Station 2Junction face

The subways were clean as well. They were being cleaned with water (What!! Where are they getting water for this !) when I walked in. With the advent of drag bags , I guess the requirement for a porter to carry heavy luggage is reduced. So I actually saw couple of them bargaining for Rs 20 – Rs 30 instead of starting from Rs.50.

But the next photo   shows that the planning could have been little better. It is a monumental effort to walk in the mixture of sand and concrete. But hopefully this is completed now.

Station 3

By the Way … Did I tell you that I was in Vacation in Trichy. It was simply Great and Glad to see all the improvements and progress that is gong on.

The city is bustling ……………………

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