Rail Budget 2011: What does Mumbai get?

Mumbai local train commuters have quite some reasons to be pleased with Mamata Banerjee's Rail
Budget 2011.
Here are the highlights of the railway budget that will affect Mumbaikars directly:
  1. Fast corridor on the Harbour line 
  2. New suburban line on the Virar-Diva-Panvel route
  3. A third line on the Kalyan–Kasara stretch
  4. Another line on Pen-Kasu route and Panvel-Apta routes, to be completed by March 
  5. 47 additional services on the Thane-Vashi, Thane-Panvel, Borivali-Virar, Andheri-Virar, Bandra-Virar and Churchgate-Borivali sections will be run. 
  6. It is also proposed to augment 107 suburban services in Mumbai area from the present 9 car EMUs to 12 Car EMUs.

Rail Budget 2011: Twitter Reactions

Now with such an important topic of Rail Budget making the news, thousand of tweets are expected. In 140 characters, people have voiced their views on the railway budget. While some people expressed their anger, others were content. But what grabbed my attention were these interesting Tweets:
Love Mamata Banerjee's comments while presenting railway budget. Only person I know who speaks in Bengali and pretends its Hindi.

Railway budget -- Mamata = Ma , condiition of railways = Mati , Sufferer = Manush

Akshay Nayyar
Mamata Banerjee is not a Didi but a Dada :P

Please send Mamata Banerjee to Amreeeka in a non-stop train! I don't care for the ocean in-between! Arrange engineers to lay the track!
Mamata Banerjee not just speaks Bangla pretending that it's Hindi, she also read a WB Railway Budget pretending it's National Railway Budget

Justice Chaudhary
Whaaaat? I will become senior citizen 2 years earlier than you guys? the universe is definitely conspiring against me :(

The way our railway Minister Mamata Banerjee is having trouble pronouncing few new Express train destinations....wondering if they exist!!!!

The easiest way to live-tweet Mamata-didi's rail budget is to write a twitterbot which every 10 mins says "Another train for Bengal"


Another Rail budget with Mamata ensuring that not only WB gets max funds but also every new train passes Howrah

Rail Budget 2011: Mumbai Commuters React

Rail Budget means different things for different people. So while for Mamata Banerjee it holds a lot of importance with the elections starting soon, for Mumbai local train commuters it means the quality of at least two hours of their day. After all, most of us travel from one end of the city to another everyday at peak hours.

So here are some reactions on Rail Budget 2011:

Keyur, who loves travelling by trains, says, "I want the budget to focus a lot on the cleanliness aspect. More than our non-AC railway compartments, our railway platforms are so unclean and full of litter that it is embarrassing when such a sight is witnessed by a foreigner. I am really fond of railways and I derive a lot of pleasure by train journeys so naturally I want it to be neat and clean. By doing this, train journeys will provide more pleasure. Hence for that, I want the railway minister to provide not just money power but also manpower to keep our platforms clean."

Yogita, a central and western line daily commuter, is glad that the age for senior citizen concession in case of women is reduced to 58 years. She says, "I would have been more happy if there were more boarding facilities and discounts for physically challenged commuters and students. Also, the infrastructure is age-old which should be looked at."

Rail Budget 2011: What College Students Wanted

If you thought Indian college students don't take Rail Budget seriously, think again.

 A website dedicated to college students, indiancolleges.com, interviewed some of the students about their expectations from Mamata Banerjee's Rail Budget 2011-12.

From increase in train frequency to cleanliness, the students have many expectations from the budget. Read all about What College Students Wanted From Didi

And to know whether Didi stood up to their (and your) expectations, check out the entire transcript of her Rail Budget speech here.

Rail Budget 2011: Mamata Banerjee's Speech - Full Text

Mamata Banerjee's speech as she presented Railway Budget for 2011-12 was quite interesting. While reading out the Rail Budget, she recited several lines including :

Hum Aah Bhee Karte Hain Toh Ho Jaate Hain Badnaam
Woh Katl Bhee Karte Hain Toh Charcha Nahi Hota

Clearly, she played safe by indicating that critics will always find some flaws with the budget. Anyways, we will come to the interesting part of the speech a bit later.

For now, here's the complete text of Mamata Banerjee's speech as she presented Railway Budget for 2011-12.

Speech Text Courtesy: Indian Railways

Rail Budget 2011: Train Fares

Mamata Banerjee has not increased the cost of train tickets in Rail Budget 2011. There is no increase in freight rates as well.

The booking charges for both air-conditioned and non AC seats have been reduced by 50%.

Online ticketing will get cheaper too!

Physically-challenged passengers will get a greater concession in train fares.

Rail Budget 2011: Date and Time

Rail Budget 2011 will be presented by Mamata Banerjee at 1200 noon on 25th February, 2011

Railway Budget 2010 - Mamata Banerjee's Speech

Before we start watching the Rail Budget 2011, let’s have a look at what Mamata Banerjee had to say in the last year’s budget. How much of it has been implemented and how those promises have affected us will give us an insight into how much we should expect from the Rail Budget 2011.

Last year, Mamata Banerjee started the speech by saying she had 2 considerations in mind: Viability of projects and social responsibility.

She announced Mission 2020 of short term and long term goals.

Here are the highlights, announcements and proposals of Mamata Banerjee's Railway Budget 2010 speech
  • No hike in passenger fare
  • Free travel for cancer patients in Third AC and sleeper class; 75 percent concession for companion
  • A special task force to be set up to clear investment proposals within 100 days.
  • Railway exams to be conducted in Hindi, English and Urdu languages
  • Considering that bottled water turns out to be expensive for the passengers, Mamata Banerjee proposed 6 bottling plants that would help provide clean and fresh water at much cheaper rates. Plant locations - Ambala, Thiruvananthapuram, Farakka, Amethi and Nasik
  • No privatization of railways
  • Rs 1300 Crores to be allocated for amenities for passengers
  • Improvement of security of women passengers
  • 5 sports academies to be set up
  • RFID technology for freight transport
  • Launching of Double Decker trains (pilot launch)
  • Ex-servicemen to be inducted to RPF (Mamata announced this after quoting Lata Mangeshkar's song  Zara yaad karo qurbaani)
  • Insurance facility for licensed porters
  • Women's RPF wing to be formed 
  • Railways to set up Rabindra Museum in Howrah, Geetanjali Museum in Bolpur  
  • Bharat Tirth train to mark Rabindranath Tagore's 150th birth anniversary
  • Special train during Commonwealth Games
  • 101 new suburban trains in Mumbai
  • New suburban trains in Chennai
  • New train service to Bangladesh
  • No increase in freight tarriff 
  • High-speed dedicated passenger corridors
  • Freight reduction on foodgrains and kerosene
  • Houses for railway employees of 10 years
  • 10 new Duronto trains  
  • 54 new trains in 2010
  • New tourist trains on tourist routes
  • 80000 new wagons
  • New Janmabhoomi train between Ahmedabad and Udhampur
  • New Karmabhoomi train for working class
  • Matribhoomi special trains for women
  • Service charge on AC fares to be Rs 20 instead of Rs 40
  • Mobile e-ticketing facility at hospitals, courts, universities, IITs, IIMs
  • Design, Development and Testing centre to be set up at Bangalore
  • Railway research centre at IIT Kharagpur
  • 13000 unmanned level crossings to be converted to manned level crossings

Central / Harbour line trains running late today

Harbour line trains:
8.40 am train from Andheri (to Panvel) was cancelled. Commuters are furious as there were no announcements.

Instead the 8.24 am Churchgate local arrived while commuters waited for the Panvel train.

Central line trains:
Similarly, in the Central line, a Belapur-CST train was cancelled without any announcement. And of course, the indicators were not operational at Seawoods Darave station in the morning.

30 Trains delayed on Western line

My friend Deepa called me early in the morning. It took her one hour to reach Andheri station from Borivli. Btw, one hour after boarding the train!

As always, nobody in the train knew why the train was taking ages to reach Andheri. What? Did you really expect the public announcement system to keep the commuters updated in such cases!

Anyways, so as for the reason, here it is - Technical Snag.

Don't ask me what it means. For us, it only means an unexplainable reason for train delays. Apparently, a technical snag developed in a train to Churchgate at Goregaon station. Then some trains were diverted on the fast track and blah blah...

Also, as expected, what the authorities claim about 97% punctuality of the trains after 4 pm is completely different from what the commuters have to say.

What can we say, ab toh aadat si hai mujhko aise jeene ki...

Safar ya suffer?

Guest post by Eknath Makne:

My ex-colleague-friend Anuradha Khanna-Pentapalli invited bloggers to share theri memorable incidents on train. Until three years ago, two incidents in which I had close shave with death, remained unforgettable ones. With steep rise in number of commuters on local trains in recent history, daily journeys to workplace have been offering slow deaths in installments. Hence, the two instances are no more memorable ones...

Shashi Tharoor's tweet of Air India services being cattle class may have found many takers. But if you ask a daily local train commuter, whose on board agonies just refuse to die, the former Union Minister's platitude appears to be sheer buffoonery of the air carrier. Thanks to 'surplus congestion' inside a local train due to soaring populace, adjectives like arduous, tiresome, painstaking, etc. have started falling short while describing journeys on board these days. Every passing moment adds to bad memories of life, while time spent on old (or is it ancient?) narrow bridges connecting one platform to another makes us think if there would be any 'stampede' during peak hours.

Measures taken by railways like introducing 15-car trains or increasing the number of 12-car ones, have proven to be futile exercises. As the revenue increases, benefits of the same are not seen being passed on to commuters in the form of developed infrastructure.

For instance, if old narrow bridges have turned into death traps during rush hours, are we not going to usher in wider ones or is it we want somebody to die in stampedes just to underline the seriousness of the issue?

Many of us may have seen flicks in which wife of a police official says, “subah jab maang mein sindur bharti hoon toh pata nahin hota ki vapas laut aayenge ya nahin”. Why should our lives resemble that of a jaanbaaz sipahi while everyone here wants to sing “yunhi kat jayega safar saath...?

Roots of all these worries lie in rising population, something the railways can not curb. But within their limits, the authorities should look for long-run solutions in lieu of patting their own back for taking half measures. With rail budget around the corner, lets hope Mamata di 'chugs' out 'on-track' measures responding to our not-so-mishti litany...

Mega block on Harbour, Central Lines

Here are the mega block timings for Sunday, 6th Feb, 2011.

Mega block for fast trains from Thane to Kalyan: 10.40 am to 3.40 pm
Fast trains leaving Thane from 10.22 am to 3.34 pm will run on slow track and will halt at all stations.


Mega block timing between CST and Kurla stations: 11 am to 4 pm
Mega block timing between Wadala and Bandra stations: 11 am to 4 pm
Mega block timing from CST to Bandra/Andheri: 10.47 am to 4.03 pm
Mega block timing from Bandra/Andheri to CST: 10.41 am to 3.48 pm

However, down harbour line services from CST to Vashi / Belapur / Panvel leaving Kurla will take the main line route up to Kurla station and then run on proper harbour line from 10.39 am to 3.53 pm but will not stop at Curry Road and Chichpokli stations.