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World’s tallest statue now on Indian Railways’ map!

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Kevadiya function 2
Kevadiya function 2

History was created in Gujarat on Sunday, 17th January, 2021, as the world’s tallest statue – THE STATUE OF UNITY of Iron Man Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel at Kevadiya came on Indian Railway’s map. On this occasion, Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the Dabhoi – Chandod Gauge converted Broad Gauge rail line (18 km), new Broad Gauge railway line from Chandod to Kevadiya (32 km), Newly electrified Pratapnagar – Kevadiya section (80 km), the new station buildings of Dabhoi Jn., Chandod & Kevadiya and flagged off 8 new trains from various destinations to Kevadiya through video conferencing. With this marvelous milestone, a seamless connectivity by rail has been provided to pilgrims, passengers & tourists alike from different parts of the country visiting the various holy places nestled on the banks of Holy River Narmada as well other places of interest in the vicinity of Statue of Unity.

Kevadiya function 5
Kevadiya function 5

To make the inaugural run even more memorable, IRCTC served packed lunch and dinners on board to all passengers from Ahmedabad, Mumbai, Rewa, Nizamuddin, Chennai, Varanasi and Pratapnagar to Kevadiya. More than 3200 packed lunch and dinners were served onboard to all passengers and Rail Neer packaged drinking water. IRCTC also provided RTE / PAD Items on Sale basis onboard multiple trains that originated from Mumbai, H. Nizamuddin, Rewa, Chennai and Varanasi. Passengers traveling in the inaugural run expressed great delight of the services provided in the trains and enjoyed their travel to Kevadiya.

Kevadiya function 1
Kevadiya function 1

The 50 km long Dabhoi – Chandod – Kevadiya section has been commissioned by converting the 18 km long Dabhoi – Chandod Narrow Gauge section to Broad Gauge and further extension of new Broad Gauge railway line from Chandod to Kevadiya (32 kms). Pratapnagar – Kevadiya section (80 RKM) has also been electrified as per Ministry of Railways Mission of 100% Railway Electrification policy. This will now provide seamless rail connectivity from all directions of our country. The details of the project are summarized as under:

Salient Features of the Project

  • The project was sanctioned at a cost of Rs. 811 cr.
  •  Land acquisition for new line project was completed as late as July 2020 and the project has been commissioned only in 5 months.
  • It has total of 7 stations with 3 major (crossing) stations & 4 minor (halt) stations.
  • Out of these 4 are new stations – Moriya, Tilakwada, Garudeshwar&Kevadiya, and 3 are existing stations, namely Dabhoi Jn., Vadaj & Chandod.
  • There are 8 major bridges, 79 minor bridges, 9 Road Over Bridges & 31 Road Under Bridges.
  • The sectional speed between Pratapnagar  – Dabhoi has been raised from 75 kmph to 110 kmph in a short span of 75 days & Dabhoi – Kevadiya section has been built with 110 kmph. The speed of the entire section from Pratapnagar – Kevadiya will be further enhanced to 130 kmph.
  • The station buildings at Dabhoi Jn., Chandod & Kevadiya have been designed aesthetically incorporating local features and modern passenger amenities. Also, Kevadiya station is India’s first railway station with a Green Building Certification since inception of construction.
  • Modern engineering techniques & equipment such as Mobile Flash Butt Welding machines, Ready Mix Concrete (RMC), Heavy Earth Moving equipment, Heavy duty Road Cranes & Track Machines were deployed to quicken the pace of Civil Engineering work.
  • A unique technical solution for design of Minor bridges has been adopted by using locally available RCC Hume pipes. This has not only reduced execution time but has also garnered a savings of approx. 27 cr. 
  • Innovative technologies such as Factory Acceptance Test (FAT) & Sight Acceptance Test (SAT) for Electronic Interlocking Signalling system through Virtual Mode  (during COVID – 19 pandemic) have been used to speed up the Signalling works & to reduce commissioning time.
  • Tower Wagons, Over Head Equipment (OHE) wiring train were utilized for expedition of Electrification works.

Electrification of Pratapnagar – Kevadiya section

  • Pratapnagar – Kevadiya section (80 RKM) has been electrified as per Ministry of Railways Mission of 100% Railway Electrification policy.
  • This will provide cleaner, greener, faster & environment friendly Rail Transportation which will reduce carbon footprint.

Major Benefits of the Project

  • Providing seamless rail connectivity to the world’s tallest ‘Statue of Unity’ from various directions of the nation.
  • The new Kevadiya Railway station is located approx. 6.5 km away from Statue of Unity’.
  • The alignment passes through the tribal belt of Vadaj – Chandod – Moriya – Tilakwada – Garudeshwar and will bring development to the area/ region.
  • It will also provide connectivity to important religious and ancient pilgrim places nestled on the banks of Holy River Narmada such as old temples at Karnali, Poicha&Garudeshwar.
  • Boost to both domestic & international tourism.
  • Act as a catalyst for overall socio-economic development of the region
  • Generate new employment & business opportunities.

Salient Features of Kevadiya station

  • Kevadiya Railway Station has been registered with the Indian Green Building Council (IGBC) for being India’s First Railway Station to be certified as Green Building by IGBC ever since inception of construction
  • LED lights and star rated branded electrical appliances will save electricity.
  • Water management through rain water harvesting, sewage treatment plant, eco-waterless urinals and drip irrigation.
  • The segregated green waste at source will be reused to produce fertilizer and reduce waste
  • First 2 levels have passenger facilities such as AC Waiting rooms & VVIP Lounge.
  • The 3rd level houses a viewing gallery from which tourists can have a good view of Statue of Unity & a tribal art gallery is also being developed here
  • A 12 feet tall replica of ‘Statue of Unity’ is installed at the prime location of station circulating area. It is also designed by the same sculptor Shri Ram V. Sutar who designed & created the Statute of Unity.
  • The surrounding area has vast parking space, landscaping, thematic park, solar light poles, wide traffic way, horticulture plants, thematic park with selfie zone, food courts & children’s play area.

Crossing Hurdles, Creating Landmarks:

  • Land Acquisition

The land acquisition work commenced on 14.08.2018. This was given a major thrust during the period from Jan – July 2020 and acquisition was completed within seven months including the COVID – 19 pandemic period

Total Land acquired: 222.00 ha

              Govt. Land: 46.60 ha

           Private Land: 175.40 ha

  • Efforts have been made to maximize utilization of non-agricultural land
  • Unstinting support & assistance from State Government resulted in the smooth & timely completion of land acquisition.
  • Major bottlenecks which caused infringements in the alignment of tracks such as Overhead High Voltage Electrical transmission cables and other such public utilities were shifted on fast track basis with the coordination of local & State authorities.
  • Extended Monsoon
  • The heavy monsoons in the year 2020 delayed the execution of the project. The monsoons also extended till October.
  • The region recorded rainfall between 600 mm to 835 mm
  • Due to heavy rains more than 29,500 precious Man days were lost in June to November 2020
  • Working days lost due to heavy rains: Approx. 40 Days when no work could be done in field.
  • COVID-19

These were indeed most challenging times with the threat of COVID -19 pandemic all around us. Despite of these hurdles, our people worked bravely and sincerely continuing the infrastructural work and development works relentlessly. The workforce consisting of our engineers as well as contractors was motivated to resume work by following all the stipulated protocols of COVID – 19 with an aim to complete the project within the set deadline.

In addition to indomitable spirit, innovative technologies were adopted to overcome the limitations of time & to obviate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, thereby, exemplifying the triumph of dedication, determination and resilience.

CONNECTING INDIA, UNITING INDIA

The details of trains connecting Kevadiya to Eastern, Western, Northern, Central & Southern parts of India are as below:

Sr. NoTrain NoFromToTrain Name &  frequency
109103/04KevadiyaVaranasiMahamana Express (Weekly)
202927/28DadarKevadiyaDadar-Kevadiya Express (Daily)
309247/48AhmedabadKevadiyaJanshatabdi Express (Daily)
409145/46KevadiyaH. NizamuddinNizamuddin – Kevadiya Sampark Kranti Express (Bi-Weekly).
509105/06KevadiyaRewaKevadiya – Rewa Express (Weekly)
609119/20ChennaiKevadiyaChennai – Kevadiya Express (Weekly)
709107/08PratapnagarKevadiyaMEMU train (Daily)
809110/09KevadiyaPratapnagarMEMU train (Daily)
  • In addition to the above 8 trains which are being flagged off, the following trains will also commence their services:
Sr. NoTrain NoFromToTrain Name &  frequency
909249/50AhmedabadKevadiyaJanshatabdi Express (Daily)
1009113/14PratapnagarKevadiyaMEMU train (Daily)
  • Express trains are being run with LHB coaches. Janshatabdi Express has been provided with latest “Vista-dome tourist coach”, which is first time on Indian Railways. This coach will provide a panoramic view of the skyline.
  • IRCTC has also doled out a basket of economical tour packages to cater tourists to the Statue of Unity as well as to experience the wonders of vibrant Gujarat.
  • Also, a Budget Hotel with a capacity of 500 rooms is being constructed by IRCTC near Kevadiya station for the convenience of tourists.

The gigantic Statue of Unity standing tall at a towering height of 182 meters warmly opened its doors to the public on 31st October, 2018 on the occasion of the 143rd birth anniversary of Sardar Patel. This unique idea is a tribute to Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel – the Iron Man & the architect of the united India. The inspiring leader, Sardar Patel stood tall & integrated the princely states into the Indian union laying the foundation of a strong and prosperous India. As an ode to this great figure, the Indian Railways has succeeded to bring every Indian closer to this great son of Mother India. Now, with the commissioning of the Dabhoi – Chandod – Kevadiya rail line as well as inauguration of Kevadiya railway station, it will be easy for people from all across the country to visit this iconic Statue of Unity, many pilgrim sites in this region as well as places of tourist interest in the vicinity of Statue of Unity, including Jungle Safari Park, Ekta Mall, Children’s Nutrition Park and Arogya Forest and many more such places of attraction. It is worth mentioning that in comparison to the existing road transport between Kevadiya & Pratapnagar (Vadodara), the rail transport will be more time saving & comparatively economical in terms of fare.

Made in India Bombardier Movia trains on Mumbai’s eastern Metro Line-4

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cq5dam.web .2000.2000 1

Bombardier Transportation has been named the lowest bidder by Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) for Mumbai Metro’s 35-km long Line-4 & 4A (Green Line) project which will connect the areas of Wadala – Vikhroli – Kasaravadavali – Gaimukh through 34 stations. The line connects Mumbai and Thane city.

cq5dam.web .2000.2000
cq5dam.web .2000.2000

The project involves design and supply of 234 metro cars and Bombardier will execute the project in accordance with Make in India’ guidelines. These BOMBARDIER MOVIA metro cars will be produced at our Savli and Maneja sites near Vadodara in India. The trains will be designed at our engineering centre in Hyderabad, India with Train Control & Management System (TCMS) delivered by our two centres in Vadodara. The project award will be subsequently announced by Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA).

Since 2002, Bombardier has been supporting the Mumbai rail ecosystem by delivering and maintaining the Traffic Management system (TMS) for Mumbai’s Western and Central Railways. In addition, around 100 commuter trains of 12 cars each are equipped with Bombardier’s MITRAC propulsion system moving safely 7.8 million people (pre-covid) who travel daily on Mumbai suburban rail network.

Bombardier has delivered 816 metro cars to Delhi Metro till date. Since the first Bombardier MOVIA metro train was introduced on Delhi Metro’s network in 2009, our fleet has travelled around 150 million kilometres and moved more than four billion passengers safely and comfortably.

In May 2020, Bombardier signed a contract with National Capital Region Transport Corporation (NCRTC) for supplying 210 regional commuter and intracity cars with comprehensive maintenance for India’s first Regional Rapid Transit System and unveiled the train design in September 2020. In addition, we signed a contract with Uttar Pradesh Metro Rail Corporation (UPMRC) in July 2020 to supply 201 metro cars and signalling system for the Agra-Kanpur metro project.

Bombardier is the only rail supplier in India to deliver a broad portfolio of rail solutions in the segments of metro and commuter cars, rail equipment, signalling and services.

Loss of a friend, philosopher and guide! RIP Ian sir– Mumbai visit memories

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With Dr Kerr.
With Dr Kerr at Mumbai CSMT and his signed message to me.

Shattering news of the death of legendary railway historian Dr Ian J Kerr, Senior Scholar in History at the University of Manitoba, and Professorial Research Associate in History at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), London, last month. Rest in Peace, sir.

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Myself with Prof Ian Kerr

“I begin to doubt if I will finish a final book of my own, let alone take on new projects. I have been telling people as the occasion arises that I’m now withdrawing from most aspects of my career as an historian of India.”

This email from Dr Ian J Kerr while we were collaborating in 2017 had me worried. Born in 1941, he was one of the oldest living and foremost historians on Indian Railways.

His large body of work, including a number of books and several dedicated academic research papers on the subject, has always given the Indian railways’ heritage and history a new lease of life and inspirations of millions of history enthusiasts like me.

My memories of Ian’s visit to Mumbai twice, in two decades, have been vivid. I usually was around to play host to him when he came here and during interactions, his enthusiasm and passion for railway history at that age always motivated me a lot. I had so many questions to ask and so much to tell him and he had so much to see around and access from local archives. He was here in 2004 and 2014.

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His note to me during his first visit in 2004

The enormous effect the railroads had on colonial and postcolonial India is indisputable, he always said.

Kerr, a senior scholar with the University of Manitoba in Canada, had passionately written about the story of the first rail line and the construction of the most difficult mountain inclines in the Ghats at Khandala and Lonavala in the 1850s breaching the Sayhadri mountain range to take the first line from Bombay to the interior parts of the country.

Not many, however, knew that 40,000 workers had toiled hard for years and more than 10,000 died during the construction of the Khandala railway line, till Kerr broke it down into annual statistics, neatly tabled, magnifying the real impact of railway construction on human life building it. His focus on the pioneering construction labour humanized the entire subject, gave it a 360 degree spin and changed the perspective of the first train history that usually just said three locomotives with 400 guests ran between Bombay and Thane on 16 April 1853.

There were people who died, communities who suffered and families that lived in forests to build the sub-continent’s first lines. It gave life to many sub-plots and a whole new spectrum of research.

His papers on John Chapman, for example, the pioneer who did ground work for India’s first line along Bombay and was later forgotten, are eye-openers and I would someday want to take it ahead in some form.

Kerr told me he had come to Mumbai to see the Khandala line to actually see the massive piers, tunnels and bridges that ferry those trains now. “I have researched and written so much about them all my life. Now, I want to see them all. For the construction of the Bhor Ghat section, which is now known as the Khandala railway line between Mumbai and Pune, workers came from all castes and communities, from near and far, to work as per their expertise. The breaking of the barrier of the Sayhadri mountain range was an important milestone.”

I then took him to the CSMT Heritage Gallery, a small museum that I had helped set the railways up in its early years and he had loved it calling it a treasure house of information with crateloads of documents and archives. “The last time I interacted with top officials at railway board in New Delhi, I suggested them to collect such archives and documents from various zones and centralise them at one place so that there could be a national railway archive. In fact, now many of the important documents have been shifted to the record centre of the national archives at Jaipur,” he had told me.

IMG 20140303 144031
IMG 20140303 144031

90-year-old fan

At the same time, 90-year-old R Venkataraman, a railway veteran himself with his child-like passion for trains, was touring India to write a book of his own and I had been host him at Mumbai CSMT. Venakt sir was so excited when I told him that Prof Kerr was in Mumbai that he asked Kerr to pen down the foreword for his forthcoming book. “Every word that Dr Kerr has written is worth a million dollars,” he said. Venkataraman, a former railwayman, passed away a few years ago and this time I write this obit for Dr Kerr.

Adieu, both of you!

One of oldest train guards in India passes away at 101

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OLD GUARD 2
OLD GUARD 2

One of oldest and retired train guards in the country, Keshav Narhar Bapat, working with India’s first railway company the Great Indian Peninsula Railway, now called Central Railway, and had celebrated his 101st birthday in November 2020 died a month later. He donated his body for medical research. He died a peaceful death on December 26 and his body was donated to the Godavari Medical College, Bhusawal Road, Jalgaon.

“Born on November 21, 1920, he was felicitated by a team of personnel officers from the Bhusawal division, Central Railway, at his at his home there,” Central Railway’s chief public relations officer Shivaji Sutar said.

OLD GUARD 1
OLD GUARD 1

“When we reached Bapat’s home to wish and greet him on his 101th birthday, his whole family was surprised and thanked us for the visit. We have informed him that Bapat will now get double the amount of pension from this month as a goodwill gesture from Central Railway,” personnel officer BS Ramteke said.

We took bouquets, sweets and a birthday greeting letter from the Divisional Railway Manager Vivek Kumar Gupta for him, Ramteke added.

OLD GUARD 2
OLD GUARD 2

“Dad joined the railways in 1951 and retired around 1978. He had a glorious career as a train guard,” says his proud daughter Surekha Bapat.

“Even the railways are not aware that he has been an army man. He fought in the Second World War and has been to many countries during the battle. He took voluntary retirement from the army after seven years or so and joined the railways, where he worked as a train guard,” she said.

Mounds of century-old steam engine ash found at Kasara rail yard near Mumbai

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Century old steam engine ash 1
Century old steam engine ash 1

Engineers on Central Railway were surprised when they stumbled upon mounds of ash from century-old steam locomotives that had gathered over ages before they could clear it and fix the age-old problem of flooding at the Kasara railway yard by micro-tunnelling under the rail tracks.

Century old steam engine ash 2
Century old steam engine ash 2

Steam engines of the Great Indian Peninsula Railway, now called Central Railway used coal or wood for fuel. When a steam locomotive arrived at a shed or its resting place, it would drop its fire and the cinders and the ash that had built up during the running would be removed. Disposal of the ash was a strenuous job and carried out regularly and old photographs in the archives show it was not uncommon for piles of ash to be scattered around the depot site. Kasara was once a major steam depot for powerful engines that needed to climb and get down the steep Ghat sections.

“When we got down to work to find a solution to fix the water problem, it was a challenge of different type. Kasara yard was getting flooded every year due to insufficient outlet for excess water. The wall of platform one was acting like dam and thus the water coming down from the hill was getting accumulated in the Down yard,” a senior divisional engineer said

“It was very difficult work. This work was targeted after seeing last year’s flooding. There were lot of hurdles. In some portion there was very difficult hard rock to cut whereas in some portion it was filled up with ash where track was settling where we had provided rail cluster & also imposed caution orders during execution. Our goal to complete before start of this monsoon was accomplished. We hope great relief during this monsoon,” he added.

Century old steam engine ash 1
Century old steam engine ash 1

Now most of the water will go underneath two platforms & 10 tracks and will not get accumulated in the yard and delay trains. “The steep climbs of Ghat section demanded very tough operations and even now banker engines are required to push trains uphill and bring them downhill with enough braking power. The days of steam must have been very difficult and in those old processes, mounds of steam ash had been deposited here which remained there,” an official said.

Elaborating about the project, Central Railway’s chief public relations officer Shivaji Sutar said, “As a part of the monsoon preparedness, we have provided 1.8 metre diameter pipe by micro-tunneling technique at the Kasara yard on north east line. Despite many challenges faced, we have successfully completed the work and this will prove a big turning point in improving the operational efficiency and safety of track in coming days.”

The work site
The work site

Abandoned historic jetty rail lines in Thane get the burial

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Historic abandoned jettty rail line in Thane 2
Historic abandoned jettty rail line in Thane 2

Old rail lines found in Thane east are now under the process of being concretised with local history groups now pushing for its conservation given the fact that Thane had played host to India’s first railway in 1853.

Historic abandoned jettty rail line in Thane 3
Historic abandoned jettty rail line in Thane 3

A railway official said that these lines do not belong to the railways anymore but are significant from the view of the city’s history. The lines have been there since the time of the Great Indian Peninsula Railway, which was the former name of Central Railway and once went to the jetty that stood there. However, they are not in any way connected to the first train or first line even though Thane played host to the first railway in India.

The remains of the single line sidings pass under a road divider today along what was then called the Mithbandar Road and now named Rambhau Mhalgi Road. The path ends at an old cargo shed along the former jetty. When documented in 2010, the old wooden cargo shed with worth a view with remains of an iron weighing scale and cobblestone flooring, but today, the worn out shed has collapsed and forgotten like the city’s railway history and old lines.

Historic abandoned jettty rail line in Thane 2
Historic abandoned jettty rail line in Thane 2

The rails, in the east, pass to an old jetty, that was in use of the Salt Department till the early 1980s. “The place also had a few old buried cannons which we had salvaged recently. The tracks were a part of the old jetty,” Thane historian Sadashiv Tetwilkar said. Local corporators and politicians also said they have requested the TMC to build some kind of a memorial for this station and save parts of the rail if possible and not allow them to get buried like this.

The place is historic and there are no two views about it. “There were 12 large cannons half buried into ground. These were of British period. They were being used to anchor small boats, ships  in Thane creek. We took out them from ground, cleaned, removed rust, applied anti-rust chemicals and restored on platform nearby Koliwada. Work was led by Dr Sachin Joshi of Deccan College Pune with the help of Thane Municipal Corporation and Koliwada Jamat Trust with permissions from Maritime Board, State Archaeology Department & TMC, etc,” Thane history buff and executive body member of Konkan Itihas Parishad Pravin Kadam said.

Thane Mayor Naresh Maresh Mhaske said he will try and see if they can be salvaged. “We will examine the location and try and see what can be done about this,” he said.

New Year’s Gift: Free Wi-Fi on Trams of Kolkata

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WhatsApp Image 2020 12 22 at 08.13.02
WhatsApp Image 2020 12 22 at 08.13.02

Wi-Fi in India’s only trams in 2021- How to connect and more details

From Jan 1 2021, Kolkata Trams are having free WiFi. Trams in Kolkata have been around since 1873. Recently, the ridership of youth had been decreasing in the tramcars. So, in keeping up with the present time to provide the best amenities to its commuters, in a first; West Bengal Transport Corporation (WBTC) is providing free Wi-Fi in the trams.

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Kolkata Tram at Tram World

” The idea of wifi in tram is to make it attractive for the youth and tech savvy”, said MD WBTC Rajanvir Singh Kapur.

Launched from today, that is 1st of January; the internet services would be given in all of WBTC’s Air-Conditioned trams.

Within a month, this would be extended to all trams; depending upon the response.

The AC Trams being covered also means the Young Readers’ Tramcar, Tram Library etc would also get this facility in addition to any previous arrangement.

“The WBTC has been taking all plausible steps to make trams a choice mode again” said Chairman WBTC Rachpal Singh.

The Free WiFi service would enable the passengers to only browse news, content & videos but would also enable high quality Wi-Fi calling.

“The service provides the commuters with an added layer of divertissement while travelling towards their destination”, said Mr Kapur.

The services in each tram can handle up to 30 users with an average per user speed of 1 mbps, enabling the passengers with strong connectivity.

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WhatsApp Image 2020 12 22 at 10.54.21

The target in this is the youngsters and tech savvy commuters.

To access the Wi-Fi in the AC Tram the next time you travel, use the following details:

Network Name: “WBTC TRAM”
Password: “wbtc1234”

Steps to connect:

  1. Go to the settings sections of your smartphone
  2. Go to Wi-Fi section
  3. Wait to see available list of networks
  4. Connect to “WBTC TRAM”
  5. User the password as “wbtc1234”

Please note that the fare remains same. The normal AC fare. Hence this facility is practically free for commuters.

“This is WBTC’s New Year gift to Kolkata”, said Sh Singh.

End of an era- Historic Vasai railway creek bridge pulled down

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Vasai 1
Vasai 1

The original railway bridge over the Vasai creek bridge built in the 1860s that connected the old Bombay Baroda and Central India (BB&CI) Railway, now called Western Railway, with Mumbai city is being pulled down after years of service in November 2020.

Western Railway officials said they will keep the heritage of the bridge alive. “We will examine if we can retrieve the builders’ plates (seals on the bridge so that they can be displayed at the Churchgate heritage gallery,” a senior official said. Coincidentally, UNESCO heritage week begins from November 19-25.

creek bridge 2
Old picture of the same bridge from WR archives

The BB&CI Railway (WR) started its origins with the construction of a 29-mile rail line between Ankleshwar to Utran in Gujarat. In 1864, it was extended to Mumbai.

Though the bridge was not in use, it remained iconic for over a century as it was always historically used to signify Western Railway. The old remains of the bridge are being dismantled with the help of boats and water cranes. Officials said the said bridge numbered 75 between Bhayander and Naigaon was abandoned in 1983 and was auctioned for metal scrap in Feb 2020. 

Due to lockdown and onset of monsoon, the work of dismantling had been delayed and now started on November 5 and is expected to be complete by 26 January, 2021.

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Creek bridge being demolished

“Building a bridge across Bassein (Vasai) creek was a challenging task. By nature, the creek is tidal, the difference between the highest and lowest tides being 15 ft and the depth of water from the highest to the lowest varying from 15 to 41 ft. The first bridge across the creek was opened to traffic in 1864. It consisted of spans of 60 ft. deck warren type girders carried on 2 ft 6 inch diameters cast iron screw piles. The island Panju, located in the mid-stream, divides the creek into north and south creeks. The south creek was crossed by 69 such spans and the north by 25,” recalls late former Western Railway General Manager Anoop Krishna Jhingron in his book, Western Railway Heritage – Traditions & Legend.

“In course of time, both the girders and the foundations were found to become weak for higher loads and despite strengthening of the bridges, ultimately it became necessary to replace the bridge. Therefore, in 1927 at a distance of 120 ft from the old, a new bridge was built across the creek. However, with increasing traffic levels, this bridge too was later found inadequate and hence in 1990 another bridge was constructed across the creek. The old bridges (No. 73 & 75) were abandoned and existed, often used by the residents of Panju island as pedestrian bridges. These bridges represent an important stage in the bridge building activities on BB&CI Railway,” he adds.

creek bridge 1
Old picture of the same bridge from WR archives

Kolkata trams get global attention, mark Big Bang 140 birthday with ‘Tram World’

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Screenshot 20201222 055517 01
Screenshot 20201222 055517 01

Old trams get new lease of life and tram lovers’ get their own space with art, music and food

The Tram World converts old trams that would have headed to scrapyard, into a permanent area where tram lovers and connoisseurs can visit and spend some quality time. The TWK has taken up old tram bogeys, as old as built in 1938, and they have been made into zones of art, music, photos, museum, food etc.

Screenshot 20201222 055517 01
Screenshot 20201222 055517 01

Kolkata has the only operational tramway of India. The Calcutta Tramway Company was formed and registered in London on 22 December 1880. This December in 2020, marks 140 years of the CTC. On this day of 140 years of CTC, the city of joy is getting a perfect gift for tram lovers.

Commemorating this historic timeline, Kolkata is all set to get a permanent gift for tram lovers: not just from Kolkata or India, but the whole world. Kolkata is all set to get a “TRAM WORLD”. The Tram World Kolkata (TWK) would be one stop place for tram lovers. The tram world is coming up in the Gariahat Tram Depot, near the Ballygunge Phari.

IMG 20201222 WA0011
IMG 20201222 WA0011

The TWK has been conceptualised by West Bengal Transport Corporation that runs the Kolkata tramways. “The Tram World Kolkata will be a unique gift for tram lovers, “said Rachhpal Singh, Chairman WBTC.

“The idea behind Tram World Kolkata is two folds. Old trams, that would have been forgotten, have been transformed into a new life. Also, people can visit the TWK and immerse into art, tram love, music etc. The idea is to attract youth to Kolkata’s culture”, said Rajanvir Singh Kapur, MD WBTC. The TWK is being positioned not as a museum but a place where all can visit to get into tram nostalgia and also to have a good time. “The TWK would not be a museum. It is much more. It is a place where one can come and spend some quality time. There would be art, music, food, a place for adda and tram love” said Rajanvir Singh Kapur, MD WBTC.

IMG 20201222 WA0019
IMG 20201222 WA0019

Swarnakamal Saha, Vice Chairman WBTC said, “WBTC is taking up new initiatives to serve the people and also preserve the culture of the city”.

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IMG 20201222 WA0064

The TWK will also have a special section for vintage cars. The vintage cars have been curated by Classic Drivers Club, Kolkata.

Some of message from the friends of Tram World Kolkata around the globe

“Kolkata Tram World will be another jewel in Kolkata’s world-class cultural heritage. I congratulate West Bengal Transport Corporation (Calcutta Tramways Company) in preserving this precious patrimony for future generations”, said Nick Low, British Deputy High Commissioner.

“For years, the Kolkata tramways have been the flag bearer of sustainable public transportation in the country. The Kolkata Tram World (KTW) will showcase the cultural heritage of tramways from across the globe to create awareness about their role in providing affordable and clean public mobility in today’s world and the importance of preserving their legacy “said Dr. Ajay Mathur, Director General TERI.

” On behalf of Techno India Group & Ecole Intuit Lab, we are thankful to Government of West Bengal, and WBTC team of Tram World Kolkata for giving us the opportunity to be a part of the massive Kolkata Tram Project. This one of a kind initiative celebrates the history of Bengal Tram and furnishes the scope to assist in the financing of the preservation of old trams” said Meghdut RoyChowdhury, head of Kolkata Ecole de inuit Lab.

WATTRAIN (The World Alliance of Tourist Trams and Trains), since being founded in 2010, has been at the forefront in promoting the interests of the owners and operators of tourist trams and trains worldwide. “Kolkata Tram World is a modern approach for the 21st Century to display the engineering of the 19th Century which hopefully will attract the youth of today, tomorrows passengers. As well as bringing to the attention of the people of Kolkata how eco-friendly trams are, and certainly the way to go for the transport of the future, this will also serve as a fantastic resource for visitors to Kolkata, showing how the tram has developed over time, and then sadly diminished, only to be re-born as the 21st Century’s mode of travel, in line with most major cities in the world.” said Andrew Gill, Director, WATTRAIN Ltd

“As an expert on Industrial heritage having authored all Industrial World Heritage Sites of India beginning with the Darjeeling Himalayan railway (DHR); I’m proud that at last the creation of a Tram World in Kolkata is opening to cherish the great living legacy of Kolkata; coinciding with 140 years of the coming of CTC. Gradually; this should evolve with associated Tramcars, Machines, Heritage-routes, Archives, Artefacts, Arts, Culture, Folklore etc. After all; Kolkata has amongst the most remarkable Tangible and Intangible Heritage of Trams” said Rajesh Agarwal| Ex member of Railway Board | UNESCO full-time industrial heritage expert.

“Indian cities are in an utmost need of augmentation of public transport systems. With continued pressure to reduce congestion, tackle air quality in cities and reduce greenhouse gas emission contributing to climate change, Tramways are a clean, silent and space-efficient systems that drive the economic progress of our cities sustainably. UITP India works towards advancing public transportation in the country through advocacy, research & networking and wishes success and growth to Kolkata Tramways World (KTW) in advancing public transportation,” a message from UITP-INDIA stated.

” I am so happy there is the new Tram World Kolkata(TWK). Thanks to West Bengal Transport Corporation to be willing and able to teach and show the importance to keep the trams running on Kolkata‘s streets. To know the past is important to know how to model the future for an eco-friendly transport system. Keep the Kolkata trams running, make them shine! Trams are the future! The tracks are there, the trams are there, the depots are there, the great workshop Nonapukur is there – plenty of opportunities for the current management together with the city to move ahead in a new direction. I can’t wait to re-visit Kolkata to experience Kolkata Tram World myself & wish for great success,” Lars F. Richter, Verband Deutscher Verkehrs-Amateure e.V. www.vdva.de

“The concept of creating a Tram World as a place to learn .about trams and like systems all over the world through exhibits, books, talks, videos and models would be a great addition to the City. “Asit N Sengupta, entrepreneur, life member of American institute of Certified Planners

Traveling by tram in Kolkata was part of my life for many decades, and an experience my family and I always enjoyed. I am delighted to hear of the Kolkata Tram World project, that is a unique initiative and wonderfully creative. I look forward to discovering the city again through the world of trams, Dr. Shanti Pappu, Sharma Centre for Heritage Education, India

I am so happy there is the new Tram World (TWK). Thanks to West Bengal Transport Corporation to be willing and able to teach and show the importance to keep the trams running on Kolkata‘s streets. To know the past is important to know how to model the future for an eco-friendly transport system. Keep the Kolkata trams running, make them shine ! Falko E. Ritter, Berlin, tram enthusiast since childhood, working for the Berlin Transport Authority (BVG).

In a country where history and heritage are not given the importance they should get, it is refreshing to see that an initiative, Kolkata Tram World, is being set up to combine art, history and heritage with the objective of attracting youth to this very eco-friendly form of transportation – the tram. As lovers of any form of transportation that moves on rails, the Rail Enthusiasts’ Society would like to congratulate the Kolkata Tram World and wishes it all the best for succeeding in their venture. It is initiatives like these that will inculcate an appreciation for our heritage and also encourage the public to travel by trams. Credit should also go to the West Bengal Transport Corporation, Kolkata, for encouraging such a venture, J L Singh, secretary, the Rail Enthusiasts’ Society

“It’s good to see a dead place has been given a new life to it wish all the support and best wishes to Tram World Kolkata,” said Dr Smarajit Roy | Director, SolarWin UK Ltd.

” Wish all the success and keep developing trams of Kolkata just like Tram World Kolkata,” Jens Bernhardt & Team, Redaktion Urban Transport Magazine, Landgrafenstraße 30, 61348 Bad Homburg vor der Höhe

“I wish Tram World, a unique initiative by Kolkata (Calcutta) Tramways to inventorize trams of the world all the success. Revival of the tramway would I believe bring back to the city of Kolkata this source of unique charm and character. I hope the TWK project in particular helps young minds immerse themselves in the forgotten glory of the Kolkata tram. Best of luck,” Rashi Grover /Consultant World Bank’s transport unit in New Delhi.

The Tram World Kolkata will start for public from 23rd of December. The winter timings will be from 10 am to 6pm. The ticket will be Rs 30 for entry to the TWK. People can book the TWK Lawns for parties, book fairs, and open air events.

A new Kurla elevated station for harbour line

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Complete details, drawings and renderings

The elevated local train railway station at Kurla in Mumbai on Central Railway will have three lines, one for CSMT-bound trains, other for Mankhurd-Navi Mumbai bound trains and a central double discharge platform with a dead-end for trains terminating at Kurla. The layout will be similar to that of Parel, the only difference being that all this will be elevated.

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Picture1 1

The project involves construction of a 1,120m 59-span bridge linked to a central skywalk, linking all other foot bridges. As of today 35pc work is complete.

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Rendering of new elevated Kurla harbour line station

The whole idea of taking the harbour lines and the station at an elevated level is two fold. The existing harbour line will then serve as 5th and 6th lines between Kurla and CST for outstation trains to segregate the existing main line traffic. Besides, it will not just add to capacity of the line, but also segregate the Mumbai Port Trust freight line and the Trombay goods line that bypasses the harbour line at Kurla.

Trains between Kurla and Mankhurd used to run till the late 1990s, but the Central Railway had stopped them after development of Navi Mumbai as there was increased traffic and these Kurla trains begun to prove as a hindrance to harbour trains starting from CSMT. After almost two decades now, once this station is ready in the next few years, the Central Railway will reviving the Kurla originating trains to Navi Mumbai.

Engineering details

Structure of Track viaduct-
CST end ramp-413m, level-504m, PNVL end ramp-422m = total 1339m
GRADIENT :- 1 in 37 (Tilaknagar end) and 1 in 39 (CST end).
SPANS :-59 nos of varying length, solid ramps at both ends
Pile foundations- 1200mm dia (596 no.) for piers, 800mm dia (432 no.) for solid ramp, RCC pile caps (80 nos.)
RCC Piers (140 nos of 1.8m dia, 202 nos. of 1.0m dia), Pier caps- 80 nos.
PSC I Girders (252 nos.)/PSC Slab (32 nos.) and steel composite girders two span

Structure of Mezzanine Floor :- Length-132M
Mezzanine area 3450 sqm. PILES 800MM DIA 492NOS.
Pilecap 154 nos. stn column.200nos. piercap combined 24+26single, superstructure RCC grid.

Structure of Platform:- Length-270M
Mezzanine area 3450 sqm. PILES 800MM DIA 492NOS.
Pilecap 154 nos. stn column.200nos. piercap combined 24+26single, superstructure RCC grid

FOUNDATION : Bored Cast in Situ Piles of 1200 mm dia for Viaduct and 800 mm dia for Station Platform with 6mm Liner up to refusal level .
Pile Cap : 10.5 x5.1x 1.8m & 5.1×4.5×1.8m

SUBSTRUCTURE : Circular Pier of 1800 mm dia with Pier cap of Size 11.59 x3.5 x1.25 & 6.5×3.5×1.25

SUPERSTRUCTURE : Pot PTFE Bearings with Pre-stressed Precast I Girders of Varying Length and Deck Slab of
220 mm thickness

PROTECTIVE COATINGS
REINFORCEMENT : Fusion Bonded Epoxy Coating
CONCRETE (UNDERGROUND): Primer with Coal Tar Epoxy – 2 Coats-
LINER : Primer coat of Zinc Phosphate , 2 coats of High Build Coal Tar
CONCRETE (EXPOSED ) : Integrated Four coat System.