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flitcraft

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I was listening online to the BBC World Service and came across a half hour documentary on Indian rail, particularly focusing on plans to electrify the system. A good, half hour listen...and apparently the link will work for a year.

 

jis

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India has a huge incentive to electrify since every drop of diesel consumed by the railways has to be imported which has to be payed for in hard currency. Electricity can be locally generated currently from cheap and plentiful Coal in massive Thermal Power Plants and progressively moving to Solar/Wind/Hydro and more Nuclear for base load.

India started electrifying its railway in the late '50s using the then spanking new technology of 25kV 50Hz AC imported/adapted from Europe, mainly France. It has been a long long trudge to get to where they are now. The proverbial case of Rome was not built in a day.
 

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Ziv

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Incidentally Eastern Railway Zone is already 100%, has been so for a couple of years. Eastern and South Eastern is where 25kV electrification began in the 1960s.
Jis, way back in the day you mentioned how large India Rail was and I was gob-smacked. I had to look it up again tonight because I could not remember.
Amtrak is not a great comparison because India Rail does a HUGE amount of freight too, but IR has 1,200,000 employees, Amtrak has 17,000.
IR has 40,000 passenger cars, Amtrak has 2,140.
Amazing just how large IR is.
 

jis

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Jis, way back in the day you mentioned how large India Rail was and I was gob-smacked. I had to look it up again tonight because I could not remember.
Amtrak is not a great comparison because India Rail does a HUGE amount of freight too, but IR has 1,200,000 employees, Amtrak has 17,000.
IR has 40,000 passenger cars, Amtrak has 2,140.
Amazing just how large IR is.
About the freight aspect of Indian Railways.... all of the electrification actually started for carrying freight more efficiently, and the initial routes that were electrified had little passenger traffic and extremely heavy Coal and Iron Ore traffic. As electrification progressed, it is the freight trains that got electric power first. Even today the most powerful and capable locomotives that run 12,000HP are all for freight. They do occasionally pinch hit for passenger but they are not capable of passenger express speeds.

The other interesting thing is that the most capable passenger locomotives are derived from what came originally from Bombardier as freight locomotives that were regeared by IR using their derivative works license, and equipped with modified control systems, to become passenger locomotives. Still later they were equipped with HOG (Head On Generator) Inverters and connecting cabling and sockets. The most widely deployed passenger electric workhorse is the WAP-7 Class Co-Co (popularly known as the "White Stallion" among railfans), is derived from the original freight Class WAG-9 Co-Co.
 
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jis

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I have noticed in videos I have watched that many passenger trains still use generator cars for train power, even on electrified lines. Are those expected to be phased out?
I think the plan is to keep one Generator Car on each train since on IR the Power Department is separate from the Commercial Department. Usually train rakes (consists) are handled separately from the road power. So there are periods when the consist does not have any locomotive attached to it. Also it serves as a fallback in case of power failure so that people don't have to bake in the Indian heat if something goes wrong with the engine. Essentially the HOG power replaces one of the Generator Cars in the train.

Then again, over time loco hauled trains are going to be replaced by articulated sets like the Vande-Bharat upto 24 car articulated trains. Those do not have any Generator cars. They are distributed power articulated sets HVAC supplied from one of the pantograph unit.
 
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west point

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24 car trais? What are the various lengths of the IR passenger cars? Cannot ever imagine Amtrak trains even close to that number. Are these long train operating on essentially very shallow rails with no grades to speak of,? No stations in US capable of that length. Too far to walk as well. Reminds me of Jasper open platform.
 

Willbridge

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I was listening online to the BBC World Service and came across a half hour documentary on Indian rail, particularly focusing on plans to electrify the system. A good, half hour listen...and apparently the link will work for a year.

I caught it on KCFR, Colorado Public Radio. It's a well-done report.
 
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24 car trais? What are the various lengths of the IR passenger cars? Cannot ever imagine Amtrak trains even close to that number. Are these long train operating on essentially very shallow rails with no grades to speak of,? No stations in US capable of that length. Too far to walk as well. Reminds me of Jasper open platform.
Newer LHB coaches are 78 feet long, older ICF coaches about 72 feet. So a little shorter than coaches in the US but not by much.
 

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24 car trais? What are the various lengths of the IR passenger cars? Cannot ever imagine Amtrak trains even close to that number. Are these long train operating on essentially very shallow rails with no grades to speak of,? No stations in US capable of that length. Too far to walk as well. Reminds me of Jasper open platform.
24 (and sometimes upto 26 cars) are typically hauled by a single WAP-7 Class electric (6300HP max, 322kN starting tractive effort, 110mph capable) or a WDP-4 Class diesel (4500 HP, 400kN tractive effort, 80mph - 100mph capable). Most Indian mainline has a ruling gradient of around 1.5% - 2%. But trains departing to the South and East from Mumbai basin includes climbing up 3% grade to Pune or Igatpuri. Bankers are used as need on some but not all trains. The faster Rajdhanis run with top and tail WAP-7s.

Most major stations on Indian Railways have platforms capable of berthing a 24 car train. Some have longer platforms.

The push to improve timetable performance of select express trains is now geared towards replacing locomotive pulled cars by16+ cars articulated distributed power sets, known as Vande Bharat sets. about 60 or so are on order both in daytime configuration for the Shatabdi Express type daytime trains and night configuratin all Sleeper for overnight Rajdhani Express type trains. The acceleration/braking performance improvement in what turns out to be trips consisting of lots of acceleration and deceleration due to traffic situation together with increase of maximum speed on select segments to 100mph is expected to cut 4 hours on what is now 16 hour schedule for overnight Rajdhanis between major cities like New Delhi - Mumbai Central and New Delhi - Howrah (Kolkata). These changes will be transformational without going all the way to HSR, something that should be educational for the US which seems to be focused on HSR while being unable to run a credible system at more cost effectively achievable speeds due institutional and apparently cultural barriers.
 
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Rambling Robert

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I was listening online to the BBC World Service and came across a half hour documentary on Indian rail, particularly focusing on plans to electrify the system. A good, half hour listen...and apparently the link will work for a year.

That is interesting especially the number of times “hydrogen” was mentioned in the documentary. I hope that hydrogen fuel cells (HFC) have a dramatic change in price such that they become commonplace. As a kid I was awed by the space program that used HFC’s in the 1960s.

In California you can rent a hydrogen car and get the tank charges at 38 stations. A young Jack Nicholson demos his H Car in the 1970s -



While working at Harvard as a tech I watched a series of presentations regarding implementing efforts of various countries toward climate change. India seems to take this very seriously. Solar, wind, hydrogen, and de-incentive types of coal use with a heavy surcharge … and electrification of a vast train network.
 
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Caesar La Rock

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India's railways are incredible and they haven't stopped expanding their railways either, it's just the beginning. New railway lines are also electrified too. Like the Delhi Metro, the first line opened up 20 years ago and has since grown to have nine lines so far, have built 286 stations (and counting), and are planning more lines in the next few years. They have over 216 miles of track (and of course counting) that are either broad gauge or standard gauge. The Metro is mostly electrified using 25K volts AC at 50 Hz and the majority of the lines are elevated too.

That's not all, in the next few months, a new system will open called the Delhi Meerut Regional Rapid Transit System or RRTS, operated by NCRTC (National Capital Region Transport Corporation). The first segment is expected to open sometime in March 2023. The initial segment will be 11 miles long between Sahibabad and Duhai, using 100mph trains built by Alstom, using ETCS L2 signals. Just like the majority of the railways in India, they'll also be electrified at 25k AC at 50 Hz. The rest of the system will open by 2025 and just like the Delhi Metro, the majority of this new line will be elevated. I'll let the videos do the talking to give you an idea of the rail expansion going on in that country.





Oh and a high speed rail line, using Shinkansen technology is being constructed as I type this. Right now the segment between Surat and Bilimora is due to open in 2026 if no further delays take place. They'll use E5 series Shinkansen trainsets.
 
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Rambling Robert

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India's railways are incredible and they haven't stopped expanding their railways either, it's just the beginning. New railway lines are also electrified too. Like the Delhi Metro, the first line opened up 20 years ago and has since grown to have nine lines so far, have built 286 stations (and counting), and are planning more lines in the next few years. They have over 216 miles of track (and of course counting) that are either broad gauge or standard gauge. The Metro is mostly electrified using 25K volts AC at 50 Hz and the majority of the lines are elevated too.

That's not all, in the next few months, a new system will open called the Delhi Meerut Regional Rapid Transit System or RRTS, operated by NCRTC (National Capital Region Transport Corporation). The first segment is expected to open sometime in March 2023. The initial segment will be 11 miles long between Sahibabad and Duhai, using 100mph trains built by Alstom, using ETCS L2 signals. Just like the majority of the railways in India, they'll also be electrified at 25k AC at 50 Hz. The rest of the system will open by 2025 and just like the Delhi Metro, the majority of this new line will be elevated. I'll let the videos do the talking to give you an idea of the rail expansion going on in that country.





Oh and a high speed rail line, using Shinkansen technology is being constructed as I type this. Right now the segment between Surat and Bilimora is due to open in 2026 if no further delays take place. They'll use E5 series Shinkansen trainsets.


This thread is very inspiring. I took a first cut and it seems there is a train that goes from Kolkata (Calcutta) to Fenny (Feni) for under 9 hours. Can’t find trains from Cox’s Bazar and Kolkata.

Flying from Boston to Kolkata seems reasonably priced compare to either Fenny or Cox’s Bazar both in Bangladesh. To get to and from Cox’s Bazar and Fenny seems best by rental car or hired driver/guide.

Then fly or take the train from Cox’s Bazar to Kolkata.

Oh, and one more mode of transportation I’ll be searching for. An Elephant ride. After leaving India and for years later - my dad regretted never having ridden an Elephant when he was at the USAAF in Feni.


.
 

jis

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This thread is very inspiring. I took a first cut and it seems there is a train that goes from Kolkata (Calcutta) to Fenny (Feni) for under 9 hours. Can’t find trains from Cox’s Bazar and Kolkata.

Flying from Boston to Kolkata seems reasonably priced compare to either Fenny or Cox’s Bazar both in Bangladesh. To get to and from Cox’s Bazar and Fenny seems best by rental car or hired driver/guide.

Then fly or take the train from Cox’s Bazar to Kolkata.

Oh, and one more mode of transportation I’ll be searching for. An Elephant ride. After leaving India and for years later - my dad regretted never having ridden an Elephant when he was at the USAAF in Feni.


.
There is no direct train from Kolkata to Feni. There is a five times a week service from Kolkata to Dhaka Cantonment Leaves Kolkata around 8am, arriving in Dhaka around 4:30pm. You have to make it from there to Feni by Bangladesh Railway service, four trains a day taking between 4 and 6 hours. There are late evening departures arriving middle of the night or departures during the day arriving later in the day.

From Dhaka there is rail service upto Chattogram (erstwhile Chitagong) at present. Extension to Cox's Bazar is scheduled to go on line in June 2023 according to this article:


Until then there is very good bus service both from Dhaka and Chattogram to Cox's Bazar.There are flights too from Dhaka to both Chattogram and Cox's Bazar (about one hour flying time) both Biman Bangladesh and US Bangal Airlines.

If my main goal was to visit Feni and Cox's Bazar I would not fly to India. I would fly directly to Dhaka with an airport much larger and with more international traffic than the one in Kolkata. I would fly Emirates or Qatar Airlines directly to Dhaka with a connection through Dubai or Doha. Qatar through Doha has the additional advantage of getting US C&I pre-clearance at Doha on the way back.

If visiting India too was a goal then of course flying into India makes sense. Get the latest information from both Bangladesh and Indian Embassies on whether they will do Visa on Arrival through the land crossing or you will need to get Visa from the Consulates before travel, and if the latter whether you can get them from Consulates in the US or they will issue those only in Bangladesh and India. These rules change frequently and it is best to get informed well before hand.

Hope you find this information useful....

BTW I was born in Kolkata and still own significant inherited property there and in its suburbs jointly with a sibling and a whole bunch and cousins. My maternal Grandfather's family came originally from Borishal (Barisal) District, now in Bangladesh, and on the verge of getting rail service for the first time ever! They moved to Kolkata a generation before the partition.
 
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jis

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Kolkata and Eastern India is getting its first articulated consist Vande Bharat Express on 30th December. The video is from a trial run on the Howrah - Barddhaman Chord at 130kph.



These have been running on six routes so far including from New Delhi to Varanasi and New Delhi to Katra (Jammu and Kashmir). They currently operate at 130kph due to track restrictions. They have been certified for commercial operation at 160kph, tested at upto 180kph, and will eventually certified for operation at 200kph.

This is the future of all medium and long distance services in India. At present some 100 sets are on order, to be added onto as needed.

The service on which this particular set will be used is for a Shatabdi style daytime round trip between Kolkata and New Jalpaiguri, the base station for going to Darjeeling either by the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway or by road. It will leave Howrah (Kolkata) early in the morning arriving New Jalpaiguri early afternoon. After a one hour turn around leave in the afternoon and arrive back in Howrah at night.

The Sleeper version is due out in a year or two which will have Rajdhani style accommodation and is intended to replace Rajdhani Expresses.

On thing worth noting is that there will be no diesel version of this. All routes are expected to be completely electrified in short order anyway, so why bother?
 

jis

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Interesting that the equipment for the Vande Bharat Express was designed and built by ICF in India, rather than using one of the European high speed train designs. Perhaps someday India may be able to export these to other countries.
It is actually derivative work using LHB design for the Coaches, and Siemens/MEDHA electricals. IR has always been excellent at producing such derivative work, and they have always been careful to include permission for derivative work in all manufacturing licenses they enter into.

I just learned that the second Vande Bharat Express out of Howrah (Kolkata) will be to Varanasi with stops in Asansol and Patna. It will be a ten hour run each way, so making it a daily service will require two consists. Initially it will be a weekly service over the weekend Saturday out Sunday back.
 
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Rambling Robert

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There is no direct train from Kolkata to Feni. There is a five times a week service from Kolkata to Dhaka Cantonment Leaves Kolkata around 8am, arriving in Dhaka around 4:30pm. You have to make it from there to Feni by Bangladesh Railway service, four trains a day taking between 4 and 6 hours. There are late evening departures arriving middle of the night or departures during the day arriving later in the day.

From Dhaka there is rail service upto Chattogram (erstwhile Chitagong) at present. Extension to Cox's Bazar is scheduled to go on line in June 2023 according to this article:


Until then there is very good bus service both from Dhaka and Chattogram to Cox's Bazar.There are flights too from Dhaka to both Chattogram and Cox's Bazar (about one hour flying time) both Biman Bangladesh and US Bangal Airlines.

If my main goal was to visit Feni and Cox's Bazar I would not fly to India. I would fly directly to Dhaka with an airport much larger and with more international traffic than the one in Kolkata. I would fly Emirates or Qatar Airlines directly to Dhaka with a connection through Dubai or Doha. Qatar through Doha has the additional advantage of getting US C&I pre-clearance at Doha on the way back.

If visiting India too was a goal then of course flying into India makes sense. Get the latest information from both Bangladesh and Indian Embassies on whether they will do Visa on Arrival through the land crossing or you will need to get Visa from the Consulates before travel, and if the latter whether you can get them from Consulates in the US or they will issue those only in Bangladesh and India. These rules change frequently and it is best to get informed well before hand.

Hope you find this information useful....

BTW I was born in Kolkata and still own significant inherited property there and in its suburbs jointly with a sibling and a whole bunch and cousins. My maternal Grandfather's family came originally from Borishal (Barisal) District, now in Bangladesh, and on the verge of getting rail service for the first time ever! They moved to Kolkata a generation before the partition.
Thank you - looks like a good kick off of my trip. It will be awhiie to get acquainted with the geography and names of particularly Bangladesh and India.

I mainly want to visit Feni where my Dad was stationed during WW2. The Kolkata connection is because he piloted a B-25 there to buy American sundries, beer, wine, food, magazines, etc. On the return from Kolkata to Feni the B-25 it lost one of two engines.my Dad saved the plan from crashing.

Cox’s Bazar is where a very large refuge camp (700,000) is located. I’ve been in touch with the International Rescue Committee (IRC) who will help me with my interests in the refuge camp. The IRC is an organization 12,000 people strong involved with refugees throughout the war. I learned recently of its close proximity to Feni.
I’m currently at a fine local Indian restaurant that’s getting busy and I should stop writing. ha ha.

When coincidences start to happen might mean something. Might not. As I started my car to goto the restaurant -,Steven Spielberg was being interviewed about his dad - his dad is part of my Dad’s story B-25 missions in northern India,
 

Ziv

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This thread is very inspiring. ...

...
Oh, and one more mode of transportation I’ll be searching for. An Elephant ride. After leaving India and for years later - my dad regretted never having ridden an Elephant when he was at the USAAF in Feni.


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Riding an elephant is increasingly frowned upon in SE Asia, though I am unfamiliar w the situation in India.
10 or 15 years ago I was told that riding an elephant caused the elephant a great deal of stress and that the howdah (wooden chair) was bad for the elephants back. The first part seemed unlikely though the second part could have some truth to it. So I found an elephant owner who would allow me to ride on the elephants neck and it was a very cool experience! I was riding a young male (son of the older male) and my travel buddies were riding the older male. We returned to the elephant camp whereupon a very young female elephant (daughter of the older male) came running at us trumpeting like mad. She had not seen her Dad for almost a week and was running up to say hi. She pranced around her Dad as we went into the camp and the bull wrapped his trunk around her head and trunk from time to time.
Back to the current situation w regards to riding elephants in SE Asia. This may not apply in India but of late the elephant groups are saying that it might not be physically stressful for an elephant to be ridden but the entire idea of riding an elephant pre-supposes the "breaking process of a young elephant", which is claimed to be a cruel process. So you can bathe an elephant in a river for a tidy fee, but it is against the rules to ride one in the elephant camps I saw in Thailand.
Which seems kind of arbitrary.
My take, if you can find a place to ride an elephant, DO SO! It is a once in a lifetime experience! Especially if you get out and ride on trails away from the camp and you get to swim with and splash the elephant in a river. Elephants love the water.
 

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In the U.S.A. I currently have two working iPhones (#7 and #11), two LED desk lamps (light weight) and two small fans that all run off USB 12VDC.

The iPhones are my only communication device. I don’t have a laptop, etc.

The iPhone #11 will be my main camera and is a hot spot. Might possibly use an 80 year old 8mm movie camera (very heavy). With 6 minutes of film

Plus several USB batteries.

So I think I’m good if I take household (Bangladesh/India) 230v 50Hz and step down to 12v 50Hz and invert to 12VDC?
 
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