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Rail News
New/Special Trains
Nov 24 2020 (20:23)   Railways resumes service of 4 pairs of clone special trains

moderator^~   494 news posts
Entry# 4789570   News Entry# 425846         Tags   Past Edits
As the protesters in Punjab have lifted their rail blockade, the Railways has restored four pairs of clone special trains originating from or having a halt in Chandigarh.

However, the New Delhi-Kalka Shatabdi train would remain cancelled until further orders due to low occupancy.

Divisional Railway Manager Gurinder Mohan Singh said the New Delhi-Kalka Shatabdi had been cancelled as its occupancy level remained around 40 per cent.

“We have been reviewing whether to restore or not the New Delhi-Kalka Shatabdi on a weekly basis. The AC train will be restored if its bookings go up,” he said.

Nov 24 2020 (20:24)
moderator^~   14992 blog posts
Re# 4789570-1            Tags   Past Edits
Train List.

5 Public Posts - Tue Nov 24, 2020
Rail News
Other News
Apr 02 2020 (21:35)   Mobile payments firms in India are now scrambling to make money

moderator^~   494 news posts
Entry# 4605856   News Entry# 404086         Tags   Past Edits
After signing up hundreds of millions of users, startups switch to lending and lean on merchants in search of revenues
Vijay Shekhar Sharma, founder and chief executive of India’s most valuable startup, Paytm, posed an existential question in a recent press conference.
“What do you think of the commercial model for digital mobile payments. How do we make money?” Sharma asked Nandan Nilekani, one of the key architects of the Unified Payments Interface that created a digital payments revolution in the country.
the multi-billion-dollar question that scores of local startups and international giants have been scrambling to answer as many of them aggressively shift their focus to serving merchants and building lending products and other financial services .
New Delhi’s abrupt move to invalidate much of the paper bills in the cash-dominated nation in late 2016 sent hundreds of millions of people to cash machines for months to follow.
For a handful of startups such as Paytm and MobiKwik, this cash crunch meant netting tens of millions of new users in a span of a few months.
India then moved to work with a coalition of banks to develop the payments infrastructure that, unlike Paytm and MobiKwik’s earlier system, did not act as an intermediary “mobile wallet” to serve as an intermediary between users and their banks, but facilitated direct transaction between two users’ bank accounts.
Silicon Valley companies quickly took notice. For years, Google and the likes have attempted to change the purchasing behavior of people in many Asian and African markets, where they have amassed hundreds of millions of users.
In Pakistan, for instance, most people still run errands to neighborhood stores when they want to top up credit to make phone calls and access the internet.
With China keeping its doors largely closed for foreign firms, India, where many American giants have already poured billions of dollars to find their next billion users, it was a no-brainer call.
“Unlike China, we have given equal opportunities to both small and large domestic and foreign companies,” said Dilip Asbe, chief executive of NPCI, the payments body behind UPI.
And thus began the race to participate in the grand Indian experiment. Investors have followed suit as well. Indian fintech startups raised $2.74 billion last year, compared to 3.66 billion that their counterparts in China secured, according to research firm CBInsights.
And that bet in a market with more than half a billion internet users has already started to pay off.
“If you look at UPI as a platform, we have never seen growth of this kind before,” Nikhil Kumar, who volunteered at a nonprofit organization to help develop the payments infrastructure, said in an interview.
In October, just three years after its inception, UPI had amassed 100 million users and processed over a billion transactions. It has sustained its growth since, clocking 1.25 billion transactions in March — despite one of the nation’s largest banks going through a meltdown last month.
“It all comes down to the problem it is solving. If you look at the western markets, digital payments have largely been focused on a person sending money to a merchant. UPI does that, but it also enables peer-to-peer payments and across a wide-range of apps. It’s interoperable,” said Kumar, who is now working at a startup called Setu to develop APIs to help small businesses easily accept digital payments.
Vice-president of Google’s Next Billion Users Caesar Sengupta speaks during the launch of the Google “Tez” mobile app for digital payments in New Delhi on September 18, 2017 (Photo: Getty Images via AFP PHOTO / SAJJAD HUSSAIN)
The Google Pay app has amassed over 67 million monthly active users. And the company has found the UPI pipeline so fascinating that it has recommended similar infrastructure to be built in the U.S.
In August, the Federal Reserve proposed to develop a new inter-bank 24×7 real-time gross settlement service that would support faster payments in the country. In November, Google recommended (PDF) that the U.S. Federal Reserve implement a real-time payments platform such as UPI.
“After just three years, the annual run rate of transactions flowing through UPI is about 19% of India’s Gross Domestic Product, including 800 million monthly transactions valued at approximately $19 billion,” wrote Mark Isakowitz, Google’s vice president of Government Affairs and Public Policy.
Paytm itself has amassed more than 150 million users who use it every year to make transactions. Overall, the platform has 300 million mobile wallet accounts and 55 million bank accounts, said Sharma.
Search for a business model
But despite on-boarding more than a hundred million users, payment firms are struggling to cut their losses — let alone turn a profit.
At an event in Bangalore late last year, Sajith Sivanandan, managing director and business head of Google Pay and Next Billion User Initiatives, said current local rules have forced Google Pay to operate in India without a clear business model.
Mobile payment firms never levied any fee to users as a strategy to expand their reach in the country. A recent directive from the government has now put an end to the cut they were receiving to facilitate UPI transactions between users and merchants.
Google’s Sivanandan urged the local payment bodies to “find ways for payment players to make money” to ensure every stakeholder had incentives to operate.
Paytm, which has raised more than $3 billion to date, reported a loss of $549 million in the financial year ending in March 2019.
The firm, backed by SoftBank and Alibaba, has expanded to several new businesses in recent years, including Paytm Mall, an e-commerce venture, social commerce, financial services arm Paytm Money and a movies and ticketing category.
This year, Paytm has expanded to serve merchants, launching new gadgets such as a stand that displays QR check-out codes that comes with a calculator and a battery pack, a portable speaker that provides voice confirmations of transactions and a point-of-sale machine with built-in scanner and printer.
In an interview with TechCrunch, Sharma said these devices are already garnering impressive demand from merchants. The company is offering these gadgets to them as part of a subscription service that helps it establish a steady flow of revenue.
The firm’s Money arm, which offers lending, insurance and investing services, has amassed over 3 million users. The head of Paytm Money, Pravin Jadhav, resigned from the company this week, a person familiar with the matter said. A Paytm spokeswoman declined to comment. (Indian news outlet Entrackr first reported the development.)
Flipkart’s PhonePe, another major player in India’s payments market, today serves more than 175 million users, and over 8 million merchants. Its app serves as a platform for other businesses to reach users, explained Rahul Chari, co-founder and CTO of the firm, in an interview with TechCrunch. The company is currently not taking a cut for the real estate on its app, he added.
But these startups’ expansion into new categories means that they now have to face off even more rivals, and spend more money to gain a foothold. In the social commerce category, for instance, Paytm is competing with Naspers-backed Meesho and a handful of new entrants; and heavily-backed OkCredit and KhataBook today lead the bookkeeping market.
BharatPe, which raised $75 million two months ago, is digitizing mom and pop stores and granting them working capital. And PineLabs, which has already become a unicorn, and MSwipe have flooded the market with their point-of-sale machines.
A vendor holds an Mswipe terminal, operated by M-Swipe Technologies Pvt Ltd., in an arranged photograph at a roadside stall in Bengaluru, India, on Saturday, Feb. 4, 2017. (Photographer: Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
“They have no choice. Payment is the gateway to businesses such as e-commerce and lending that you can monetize. In Paytm’s case, their earlier bet was Paytm Mall,” said Jayanth Kolla, founder and chief analyst at research firm Convergence Catalyst.
But Paytm Mall has struggled to compete with giants Amazon India and Walmart’s Flipkart. Last year, Mall pivoted to offline-to-online and online-to-offline models, wherein orders placed by customers are serviced from local stores. The company also secured about $160 million from eBay last year.
An executive who previously worked at Paytm Mall said the venture has struggled to grow because its goal-post has constantly shifted over the years. It has recently started to focus on selling fastags, a system that allows vehicle owners to swiftly pay toll fees. At least two more executives at the firm are on their way out, a person familiar with the matter said.
Kolla said the current dynamics of India’s mobile payments market, where more than 100 firms are chasing the same set of audience, is reminiscent of the telecom market in the country from more than a decade ago.
“When there were just four to five players in the telecom market, the prospect of them becoming profitable was much higher. They were scaling like crazy. They grew with the lowest ARPU in the world (at about $2) and were still profitable.
“But the moment that number grew to more than a dozen overnight, and the new players started offering more affordable plans to subscribers, that’s when profitability started to become elusive,” he said.
To top that off, the arrival of Reliance Jio, a telecom operator run by India’s richest man, in 2016 in the country with the cheapest tariff plans in the world, upended the market once again, forcing several players to leave the market, or declare bankruptcies, or consolidate.
India’s mobile payments market is now heading to a similar path, said Kolla.
If there were not enough players fighting for a slice of India’s mobile payments market that Credit Suisse estimate could reach $1 trillion by 2023, WhatsApp, the most popular app in the country with more that 400 million users, is set to roll out its mobile payments service in the country in a couple of months.
At the aforementioned press conference, Nilekani advised Sharma and other players to focus on financial services such as lending.
Unfortunately, the coronavirus outbreak that promoted New Delhi to order a three-week lockdown last month is likely going to impact the ability of millions of people to use such services.
“India has more than 100 million microfinance accounts, serviced in cash every week by gig-economy workers, who hawk vegetables on street corners or embroider saris sold in malls, among other things. Three out of four workers make a living by working casually for others or at their family firms and farms. Prolonged shutdowns will impair their ability to repay loans of 2.1 trillion rupees ($28.5 billion), putting the world’s largest microfinance industry at risk,” wrote Bloomberg columnist Andy Mukherjee.

1 Public Posts - Thu Apr 02, 2020

Apr 02 2020 (21:51)
moderator^~   14992 blog posts
Re# 4605856-2            Tags   Past Edits
Pl. read this. /blog/post/4605855
Rail News
New Facilities/Technology
Aug 24 2019 (20:04)   With 2 engines from today, Mumbai Rajdhani to reach Delhi 1 hour earlier

moderator^~   494 news posts
Entry# 4409636   News Entry# 389398         Tags   Past Edits
The Rajdhani express leaving Mumbai Central on Saturday will reach New Delhi an hour earlier than scheduled with Western Railway deciding to implement the push-pull method and run the premium train with two locomotives.
At present, with one locomotive, the Rajdhani covers the 1,384 km between the two cities in 15 hours 50 minutes at a speed of 130kmph.
Locomotives, each with 6,000 horse power, will be attached to the front as well as rear of the train. It will enable faster acceleration and deceleration, saving time. The move will improve braking
too. “We have received all the necessary approvals. We will observe the actual time savings for this train for a few days and incorporate it in the timetable,” said WR’s chief public relations officer Ravinder Bhakar. This method is likely to be extended to the August Kranti Rajdhani, which runs between Mumbai Central and Hazrat Nizamuddin. In March 2019, the pushpull technology was tried successfully on Central Railway’s CSMT-Hazrat Nizamuddin Rajdhani. The railway board is trying various options to cut travel time between Mumbai and New Delhi. It plans to boost infrastructure to upgrade speed on the route to 160 kmph, which can cut travel time to 10 hours.
The scope of the project includes fencing, Automatic Train Protection System (ETCS 2/TPWS), Mobile Train Radio Communication, and automated and mechanised diagnostic systems, which will considerably enhance safety and reliability. The policy also requires removal of all level crossings.

9 Public Posts - Sat Aug 24, 2019

Aug 25 2019 (00:20)
moderator^~   14992 blog posts
Re# 4409636-13            Tags   Past Edits
From my own recent experience, most of the stations were already reached 10-20 minutes ahead of schedule, in spite of slowing down/waiting before the respective stations. From New Delhi to Mumbai:
1. Kota was reached 10 minutes ahead, and forced to wait till Dep time.
2. Nagda was reached 20 minutes ahead, and forced to wait till Dep time.
3. Vadodara was reached 10
minutes ahead, and forced to wait till Dep time.
4. Surat was reached 10 minutes ahead, and forced to wait till Dep time.
So even without increasing speed/2 engines, etc, the TT can easily be shortened by 1 hour. But it looks like the Railways would "like" to speed it up and reach "ahead" of schedule, so as to maintain a good impression that the "train is never late".
As for AK from Mumbai to NZM, the slack was even worse. In spite of reaching most of the stations almost 20 minutes ahead of schedule (and forced to depart at the right time), the train was waiting outside NZM/Faridabad for close to 1 hour!!!

1 Public Posts - Sun Aug 25, 2019

1 Public Posts - Fri Sep 06, 2019
Rail News
Major Accidents/Disruptions
Oct 19 2018 (23:09)   Dussehra turns tragic in Amritsar as 60 crushed under train

sachinature~   1125 news posts
Entry# 3917411   News Entry# 365475         Tags   Past Edits
Extremely saddened by the train accident in Amritsar. The tragedy is heart-wrenching. My deepest condolences to the… click here
I spoke to Home Secretary of Punjab and DGP of the state regarding the train accident in Amritsar. They are rushing… click here
May God give strength to the bereaved and injured. Railways is proving all possible assistance at the site. I have… click here
to hear about the tragedy on rail tracks in Amritsar, Punjab. Understand Indian Railways and local authorit… click here
We will do everything possible to assist the injured. Have directed the district administration to leave no stone u… click here

3 Public Posts - Fri Oct 19, 2018

Oct 20 2018 (02:31)
moderator^~   14992 blog posts
Re# 3917411-4            Tags   Past Edits
When there are big accidents/incidents, it is seen that the mainstream news media often gets the train number, station and other info wrong. For this particular instance, the train number given out by many news outlets is 74943 - Jalandhar-Nakodar DEMU, which does not even go to ASR. All news links in IRI are now tagged as 74643 - Jalandhar-Amritsar DEMU, which seems to be the correct train.
these times, IRI can do a better job of disseminating accurate info, by checking, verifying and tagging stations/trains correctly.

2 Public Posts - Sat Oct 20, 2018
Rail News
New/Special Trains
ECR/East Central
May 26 2018 (08:18)   धनबाद से सूरत के लिए रेल मंत्री से ट्रेन की मांग

x-under SW-x   2740 news posts
Entry# 3453943   News Entry# 338342         Tags   Past Edits
खोरीमहुआ | कांग्रेस की केंद्रीय सदस्य डॉ मंजू कुमारी ने रेलमंत्री से पत्र के माध्यम से गिरिडीह और कोडरमा से गुजरात के लिए ट्रेन की मांग की। कहा कि पिछले कुछ वर्षों से गिरिडीह तथा कोडरमा युवाओं द्वारा बेरोजगारी से निजात पाने के लिए गुजरात के औद्योगिक सहर सूरत जा रहे हैं। पर यातायात की सुविधा नहीं होने से कई मुसीबतों का सामना करना पड़ रहा है। समस्या से निजात मिल सके इसके लिए धनबाद कोडरमा से सूरत डायरेक्ट ट्रेन दी जाए। मंजू कुमारी।

2 Public Posts - Sat May 26, 2018

May 26 2018 (11:40)
moderator^~   14992 blog posts
Re# 3453943-3            Tags   Past Edits
The picture was part of the original article. Now removed. Thanks.

22 Public Posts - Sat May 26, 2018
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    Followup to: Fmt Changes The new version of FmT 2.0 will soon be here - in about 2 weeks. As detailed in the previous announcement, many of the old FmT features like Train TT, Speedometer, Geo Location, etc. will be REMOVED. It will be a bare-bones simple app, focused on trip blogging. It...
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