Sunday, February 06, 2011

Vote of Thanks

Sridhar Joshi gives the vote of thanks to the OC who have hosted the convention off-site at BSL!

BSL 2011 OC Hip Hip Hurray!

Thank you for all the online viewership and the comments.

Hope you all had fun following the convention. Thank You Bhusaval!

This is Vrij signing off from BSL-2011.

2012 where?

Proposals for the venue of the next convention will be posted on the IRFCA website and the forum. Members can decide by a count of vote where 2012 convention can be held.

Quiz Winners

Consolation Prize: Biswarup Basu (TLCR)

Runner Up: Raymond Arogyaswamy (MAS)

Winner: S. Sampath Kumar (MAO)

Lunch & Intros

Sumptuous lunch once more. The F&B department of BSL2011 needs special congratulations for the mouth-watering delicacies served on both days of the Convention.

A little late, but the few new members or first timers at conventions. Good to see new faces and the younger members coming into the IRFCA fold.

Raghu Jayaraman, Dinyar Antia, Shikhar Parjan, Mr AA Phadke, Zubin Dotiwala amongst the newbies! Can't believe that a senior member like Zubin gets to attend his first convention now!

The IRFCA Quiz

Quiz Master: The same old fag from MAS.. Sridhar Joshi ;)

First Up is a "Marshal Our Train" competition.

The PDF for this can be accessed HERE

Now for the main Quiz:

The IRFCA Video Quiz
Compiled by Mani Vijay. Presented by Joshiji.

Part 1:


Find the stations from the clues in the video

Scenes 1-5.


Part 2. Scenes 6-10


Part 3 (Based on the above 10 stations clued in 1-10):

11a. Out of the above 10 clues in the two parts of the video quiz, mention all the names of Junctions in the list.

11b. Only one of the Junctions above has all branches electrified. Identify it.

12. Identify the nearest Junction for ANY 2 of the above Non-Junctions in the list above.

13. Name the Junction where the lines actually meet AFTER the station, so has dedicated platforms for all the different branches originating here.

14. For any 2 junctions, name the zone or the company it belongs to.

15. Add-on to Q12. Both the Jn and the Non-Jn have their names with the same alphabet. Which one?

16. What is the Maximum number of stations out of the above 10 that are connected by a single train. How many stations?

17. Name any one station of the list which does not have a direct connection to Delhi.

18. Only 2 stations have ONLY ONE direct train to Delhi. Name any one.

19. Which of these stations has ATLEAST ONE Fully AC train halting there. (Raj/Shat/GR/Dur/Spl)?

20. Only ONE of these stations has had MG and BG at a time. Which one?


Answers can be emailed to vrijATrediffmailATcom. Cut off time: 1400hrs today. Winners for Online viewers will be announced by Sridhar Joshi on Monday.  Please Combine your answers for all parts of both quizzes and email please.


The Annual IRFCA Awards

Best Trip Report:  Benhur J

Best Picture Album:  "Monsoon Magic at Dudhsagar" by Raghu, Harish & Benhur

Best Picture of the Year: Harish Kumar

So, its been a clean sweep for the Dudhsagar gang. Awesome folks!!

Mementos presented to Mr Phadke, Mr Saxena, Mr Srinivas, Mr Shubhranshu (not here).

Token Exchange Videos

Presented by Poochi Venkat

Token Exchange on the Pune-Kolhapur section

Shot at jejuri and Valha. Jejuri was the token terminus and trains towards Pune pick up tokens.
Also, please be ready for the Quiz which follows this, also open to the Online viewers.

All details including obtaining the Neale's ball token from the machine, tying to the loop, etc.

Amazing videos including token pickup in the night with the khalasi burning a mashaal and signalling by waving it, and dramatic synchronization between the khalasi with the token in hand and the LP playing with the headlamps to acknowledge.

Photographs by IRFCAns like Ashish, Sachin, HCM, Old Man, Rahul etc..

One Night at a Control Center

By Sridhar Joshi & Krishna Kumar Kannan
(Majority work by Ranganath Eunny.. unfortunately missing at BSL)

Work at the TPJ Control Center for the VM-TPJ section

Start of with a small puzzle.. Crossing frogs!

14 Crossings in just about half an hour.. on a bloody single line.

VM-TPJ 23 block stations, 177km.

Maximum movement between 6PM and 4AM.

126 crossings, 1 section Controller.

Quite Rajnikanthesque, ain't it?

VM-TPJ is a cash cow of the zone.

GC was completed in 1998 and Electrification was completed in 2009. Quite a brainless move considering that Doubling should have been a priority.

A superb animation depicts what happens in 4 hours between midnight and 4AM.

Taking the oft repeated Archana Puran Singh exclamation: Mind-blowing!

1 2 3 3 3 3 ... 3 Phase Locos

By Mr Avinash Singh Kushwah, (Sr DEE Op BSL)

Evolution of 3 Phase Technology

Layout of the locos, driver controls, design of software traction motors, etc.

Evolution of locos from DC to AC to 3 Phase

Dominance of DC series TM in locos.

Adoption of 3P Squirrel cage induction motor for traction application

Torque speed characteristics of the TMs.

Advantages of 3Phase.. energy consservation, higher energy loco.

Future scope of power upto 10K HP, which is being researched now.

Minimum wear on rails due to great weight distribution, weight transfer control is electrical.

Fast acting wheel slip, slide control.

Onboard fault diagnostic system reduces maintenance load, and ease in repair.

Exclusive harmonic filter to reduce harmonics generated by OHE.

In DC motors locos the unavoidable jumps in TE limits adhesion. This is eliminated in the 3P locos.

Fire detection and alarm system in the machine room.

Underslung compressors to eliminate oil fumes and spillage.

Electronic brake system plus a pneumatic release parking brake.

Circuit diagrams and electrical diagrams of the 3P locos.

Cooling Concepts

Drivers controls in the 3P Locos.

Button and Lamp layout on the drivers stand.

Photos of the inner equipment.

Control System  with two types of cards: Processor and Non Processor.

Processor Control hierarchy chart.

Diagnostic tools for the loco.. software based diagnosis.

Interpreting fault messages to the driver.

CST: Heritage, Values & Significance

By Shraddha Hemant Bhatawdekar

First up on the second day, we have a beautiful lady to start up the formal proceedings.

Talks about the history of VT.

Architechtural grandeur of CSTM.

A map of the fortification of Mid 19th century superimposed on the present Fort precinct.

The Old Bazaar gate of the fort was exactly opposite where CST today stands.

Started as a miserable wooden shade called Boribandar.

Fredrick William Stevens was the architect. He also designed the BMC, Mumbai Police HQ, etc.

It took him almost 10 years from 1878 for the construction of the station building.

Fantastic images of old plans/drawings and under-construction snaps of VT.

Originally 6 platforms, 10 more added in 1929 along with construction of the newer wing.

The Octagonal ribbed dome is probably the only one on a station building and is a hallmark of the building.

Statue of Progress atop the dome was probably responsible for the development of Mumbai, and indeed the country as well.

Unique arches, ornamentation and design combining multiple styles of construction, esp the Gothic Revival Style.

Sculptural wealth at CSTM.

Integral part of Mumbai. Arguably the finest building in Mumbai.

A new museum is being developed inside CSTM would be of immense cultural, educational and research value.

Conservation of the site involves preserving the authenticity and culture of the area.

Declared a World Heritage Monument. It is a living heritage.

The presenter is an archeologist and would like to solicit comments and suggestions of IRFCAns not only about this presentation, but also regarding other interesting sites. Please reply as comments to this post.

Good Morning

Welcome to the second day of BSL 2011.

We had a fun filled day yesterday and hope we have a even more super day today.

We had sumptuous dinner and even more sumptuous rail talk at the venue before we headed back to our hotels. And at the end of the long day, we were quite tired and dozed off pretty soon as we all had to wake up early.

And so we did, taking the 7.30 bus to the venue.

For breakfast, we had some excellent Idli sambar and Upma rounded off with some piping hot tea/coffee!

And now Apu and Sachin usher us all into the hall for the days events to unfold.

Saturday, February 05, 2011

And we break for the day!

That brings us to the end of Day 1 of  BSL-2011.

It all started off with some serious technical sessions, moved onto some informative presentations like the ones by VSP and Ravi Sundarajan. After lunch, we all moved out for some amazing field trips.

The evening tea was followed by great video presentations and now we head to some sumptuous dinner and then some much needed rest at our hotels!

So, thats it from BSL for now.

Hope to catch you all early in the morning for some fun sessions, two unique quizzes, bid for the next convention and much more!

The Railtube!

Video presentations from across the country.

1. Punalur-Shencottaih videos by Poochi Venkat. Features coupling YDM4 6401 to the rake and a FP run from Punalur.

2, Evolution of the Electric Locos by IRIEEN. Evolution of the WCM, WCG, WAG, WAM class of locos.

3. A video compilation by Jattin Bhavsar.

Steam in the 1970s

By Harsh Vardhan

We had a small railfanning session near the ZRTI triangle for an hour, and then after a short break that comprised superb paneer pakodas and hot hot tomato soup we are back.


Colour photography had a boost in the 70s.

Talks about the locos around the 1925 region.

War Department locos introduced during the WW2.

Post War standard for independent India in 1948. The W, Y, Z classification came about then.

End of steam started in 1974 with the Great Railway Strike and rapid dieselisation.

Shows snaps of rarely seen beautiful steam locos.

Lots of XC, XB1, WM, WG, YG, MAUDs, CC, etc.

There is a wonderful snap of a YP and a WP side by side taken at TPJ.

The last broad guage loco to be built was a WG nicked Ántim Sitara'

Never seen so many great snaps of steam locos in one place. Kudos to Harsh for this. Folks, maybe you should bombard Harsh with some mails so that he sends you some of these rare gems.

Overwhelmed and Overhauled

Visit to the BSL POH Shed

Locos stripped bare, repaired, old parts reassembled and then put back into a rather newish condition.

Locked. Err... Interlocked !!

Route relay interlocking, Panel interlocking, Automatic, semi-automatic, semaphore, Naell's Ball Token, Podanur type, etc are some of the few types of signalling systems used by IR.

Excellent track layout in a huge hall with all signalling equipment, etc and loads of inquisitiveness on the part of delegates to know more and more.

Miniature models of entire tracks, signals, panels with realistic working models.

This has to be the most life like representation of any track layouts I have ever seen or even heard of.

Simply amazing!!

Sent from my mobile device

Alco Magic

Just out of the diesel loco simulator where we collided with a derailed rake on the down line.

The season was that the accident was on a curve and by the time we could see the opposite loco's flasher and applied brakes, it was too late.

Another batch had a failed angle cock caused due to a cattle run over.

Such and many many more such situations can be simulated in the simulator here.

Added to this the feature that one feels the same vibrations and G forces as on a real loco are some departures from the electric sim.

Next we head to the Model Room in some time, so expect more info from there.

Sent from my mobile device

Simulating the G5

Just out of the electric loco simulator. It replicates a WAG5. There
was a room with a drivers cab and another analysts room connected with
The Sim. All actions of the driver are shown on the computer for
analysis. The section parameters including day or night view, foggy
weather etc can be simulated. Its a great way to analyse a loco
pilot's actions and correct his driving style if necessary.
Next up for my group is the diesel loco simulator. So, till then, hang on!!
Sent from my mobile device

Field Visits

Ok.. so now we all break for some quick lunch.

And then the delegates would move for Field Visits.

On the Agenda are the POH Workshops, Diesel Loco Simulator, Electric Loco Simulator, Traffic Model Room ZRTI.

All the delegates have been segregated into 4 groups and will cover each of these four places in turn.

Further updates will continue from where I head to on a rotation basis. ( Expect short irregular posts)

More updates will be put up at 1800hrs. 

Thus spake the time table...

A presentation on PRS & Quotas.. by whom else but VSP!

A most awaited and All-Ears-All-Eyes session!

Lists all the Quotas available on IR.

Will tell you what PQ or WL is soon!

PQ = Pooled Quota = Org to intermediate stations.

No RAC in PQ. ONLY one PQ in a train. Confirmed at charting at origin.

RL = Remote Location

There can be RAC and more than one RLWL in a train. Can be used to clear general quota WL. Cleared at charting 4 hours before departure at booking point.

VSP is letting loose his 'trade secrets'' ! Giving tips and tricks as to how you can use the Quota systems to your advantage.

If you are not at BSL.. you will not get the special tips. Serves you all right ;)

VSP is now fielding queries from the delegates. He's better than Alan Knott was behind the stumps!

Non-attending delegates can email their issues to the Time-Table himself!

Pamban explored

A presentation by Ravi Sundarajan


Talks of the Scherzer bridge.

The History, geography, the statsitics, dynamics

Excellent details of the bridge.

Ravi has got some amazing photographs of the bridge, and associated with some superb graphics, shows us how the entire Girder span opens.

Ravi actually went onto the bridge and took photographs. Also, he has some real good graphics to support his explanations.

The bridge opens with the help of a weight based roller and the structure actually rolls and opens up.

Fan Wellage helps in locking of overhanging leaves to engage the span.

Communication cables too get disconnected when the bridge opens. They have a special connective system for that, which is used every time the bridge opens or closes

There is a Pier protection system

An Anemometer is present as a safety mechanism, which prevents trains entering the interlock if wind speeds above 58kmph!

Ravi explains weight dynamics when a train is on one part of the span.

3 to 4 hour block is taken when the bridge is opened.

16 men plus the engineers are on hand when the leaves are opened.

Bridge operator requests Simultaneous Block instrument Plunger Press after obtaining a Private number.

Co-ordination between RMM and MMM stations to ensure connectivity before and after opening/closing.

Apart from the fixed anemometer, a standby mobile anemometer is used.

Signal interlock doubles as safety mechanism.

Bridge Operator has an Emergency Operations key which can be used to bypass standard procedures in emergencies. Can also help in potential damage by moving ships.

Get regular warnings from Pamban Port regarding weather and wind velocity updates.

3 dimension high precision rail alignment.

Guage Conversion: 6 options including abandoning, retaining MG, new bridge, a tunnel, etc. But redesigning was opted for.

Holy Shit... only a 20cm gap between the top of a train and the girder bars above!

Only a single WDM2/3 is allowed to take a passenger rake. No freight or dual locos allowed.

The ZRTI, our gracious hosts

By Mr A K Saxena, Princial, ZRTI


ZRTI was accredited by ISO in 2004. First amongst 300 such institutes.

Established in 1962.

Training in 9 faculties: Traffic, loco, commercial, simulators, model rooms, etc.

91 Instructors and 12 faculty members.

In 2010-11, 10244 trainees were trained. Isn''t that an exceptional number?

Suerb photographs of model rooms in the institute. Includes a mock-up of a railway station with various working signals, etc.

A huge mess.. 500 eat at once!

And if you think that you are all gonna miss out on meeting the IRFCAns, here's some killer news! The delegates are gonna visit the POH workshops, Simulators and Model Rooms. Now sulk!

Chai time!

All the delegates have moved for a small 15 minute Tea/Coffee break. Biscuits to give company!

And did I mention that we had a sumptuous Maharashtrian breakfast of Poha, Sev and Halwa backed up with some super tea and coffee?

For all you folks missing out on BSL.. my heart felt sympathies. This place is a real landmine of train action.

Our bus was stopped at a closed LC just outside ZTC where the 2181 (according to VSP) and the Mahanagari went by. Srini called it a good omen to start the convention.

And there was an ET Barbie Doll at the ZTC triangle, almost a stone's throw from where I am sitting. I called it a great start!

One more tidbit about the blog. The signal on your left is now green, indicating that the convention is on at MPS!

Status & Benefits of Electrification

By Mr A A Phadke, Sr Professor, IRIEEN

Statutory Warning: Apurva Bahadur and followers, keep your tempers under check ;)


Plan wise progress of Electrification in IR

Vision 2020: Increasing Route KM from 22K to 33K to haul 250% more traffic envisaged.

Takes us across the various projects underway or completed in various parts of the country.

Huge Cheers across the auditorium as he mentions the oft-debated Pune-Renigunta route.

GTL-RU 70% done. MAQ-SRR planned. GY-DMM-SBC sanctioned. SBC-MYS in progress.

PKT-JAT-UMP sanctioned and work started. Gondia-Nagbhir-Balharshah sanctioned.

Status of electrification across the country: Completed, sanctioned, planned for completion/start . Well compiled document.

Only 26kms of the Kengeri-Mysore planned for completion in the next year, while the LPI-WADI would be completed.

Daund-Puntamba-Shirdi also sanctioned to be wired up.

1215kms planned to be electrified in the next financial year.


Comparison of Diesel and Electric haulage of freight in the country. Distance, area, load all parameters calculated.

An average electric hauled freight hauls 9% more than diesel hauled.

Average speed of electrics is 8% higher than diesels

1.21:1 is the E:D loco usage for goods.

Published figures of Mileage and failure stats better for the electrics.

Personal Note: If you give more opportunity to one, they'd surely perform better, unless he of she is Ravindra Jadeja!

Cumulative cost and total km progression of energising!

Analysis of Operating expenses on IR.

A huge net savings, with a 92% Rate of Rerturn !

Comparison of Cost of running of Diesel and Electrics. Diesel rates have increased from 15 bucks to around 40 plus today.

Electrics are very efficient, with high maximum efficiency. They can regenerate power.

2014 will see Peak scenario.

Foot notes:

Shubhranshu could not make it to the convention, unfortunately :(

Mani Sir, LKO-MGS also sanctioned, if I remember right.

Karan.. the mods are working, slow n steady.

Container Train Operations: Problems & Prospects

The first of the Presentations by Prof Raghuram of IIM, Ahmedabad.

He follows the inaugural address by the Chief Guest.

Talks about the state of Container traffic in India. 

Container Traffic growth and boom in the country and formation of CONCOR in 1989.

A statistical preview of the Domestic and International Container Traffic in India is being shown.

Initiatives to privatize CONCOR in 1994 and 2004 did not fructify.

Four zones of Operation were formed, JNPT-Delhi being the largest and first.

Final Container Policy was formed in Jan 2006.

Totally 16 entrants including CONCOR took up the license to operate container rakes.

Comparison of the Container scenario in India and abroad. India was the first amongst the developing world to adopt a proper Container Policy.

Details of all the operators who run Container trains in the country.

The financial aspects of the Container biz.

New Rate structures (Check out the RCs: Rate Circulars which notify of changes in container and freight rate management)

RC 25 put in a commodity based rate structure.

RC 30 came into operation from Dec 1, 2010. Notified 6 categories of notified commodities. Agricultural commodities introduced. Applicable only for Domestic and not International. Cement now excludes White cement.

In Dec 2008, Assured Transit Time sceme was introduced by IR at 10% premium. No operator has signed on till date.

Recommendations and proposals for proper and more streamlined operations.


Folks, please keep refreshing the page for updated views.

And why ain't anyone commenting?

Sachin and Ashish are running around with the arrangements.

[Pics] The Inauguration

On the Dias

S Srinivas invites the Special Invitees onto the dias.

Mr Hemant Katiyar (Chief Guest), Dr G Raghuram, Mr K M Saxena, Mr V Anand and Mr A A Phadke are on the dias.

The dignitaries light the auspicious lamp to signal the start to BSL-2011.

Folks.. we are notching up!

Cranking Up

BSL 2011 is getting underway!

The delegates were transported from their respective hotels to the venue, ZRTI, BSL by a specially hired MSRTC bus.

The Registration desk is busy with Khalid, Ashish, Amrutha, Jattin and Nitin managing the delegate registration.

From all the Organisers, Delegates, we welcome you all to the Live Blogcast of the 6th IRFCA Convention. This is Vrij bringing the convention Live to you!

Saturday, January 29, 2011


Welcome to the Live Blog of the 6th Annual IRFCA Convention.

Dates: 5th & 6th February, 2011.

Time: 8AM onwards on Saturday, the 5th Feb 2011.

Venue: Zonal Railway Training Institute, Bhusaval, Maharashtra.

Updates of arrivals and check-ins of members and many interesting activities in the preparation of the Convention would also be updated here.

The Convention Program, attending delegates, maps of BSL and ZRTI area and contact numbers of Organising committee members are available on separate pages which can be accessed from the links above.

The original background image has been taken by Gowri Sankar and has been spiced up by Sachin and Lalam after I hounded them with a zillion requests!

So keep visiting for updates!

- Vrij