Welcome to the First IRFCA Convention, 2006.
The first of its kind gathering of railnuts from all over the country, being held at The Hotel Regency, Pune on Sunday, Feb 26, 2006 from 9AM.
Live reports of the event are being posted here, and will be updated every 15 minutes (at every quarter hour) approximately. Do refresh your browser at that intervals to get the latest updates.
5. 45 PM :
The Live Blogcast of the First IRFCA Convention 2006 comes to an end with this. A huge round of applause to the Organisers of this path-breaking event for the fantastic facilities provided and in general, great organisation of the event. Hope that all members viewing this blog have enjoyed the proceedings, even though you could not make it to the event.
Vote of thanks due to Ashish Kuvelkar, Dr Shirish Yande, Apurva Bahadur, John Mani, Hrishikesh Moghe and other Pune Members, and also to Bharath Moro and Poochi Venkat for the fantastic material provided.
Thanks due to Sridhar Joshi and Ajai Banerjee for the IRFCA Quiz..
Update at 5.30 PM :
Passing the baton : Chennai to host the Second IRFCA Convention in 2007.
The date for the IRFCA Conventions henceforth has been institutionalised as the Last Sunday of February each year.
The Baton, in the shape of a large key, for the same was passed by Dr Yande to Mr Kasi Lingam in the typical Token exchange style.
Dr Yande discusses the future of IRFCA.
A commemorative IRFCA plaque signed by Mr Dheeraj Sanghi, Mr Ajai Banerjee, founder members; and Poochi Venkat, the designer was auctioned for Rs 1500, to the highest bidder Ranganath Eunny.
Poochi Venkat proposes the Vote of Thanks and Three Cheers to the Pune Gangmen, especially Ashish Kuvelkar for the fantastic effort!
Update at 4.55 PM :
* Bharath Moro and the Art of Writing Trip Reports.
* Moro talks to us about the report, photos of which featured in the Gallery under an album called “Butter Chicken”.
* Talks about the things one can put in a trip report.
* The important thing is talking to the locals and getting hooked onto the local flavours.
Update at 4.42 PM
* More videos….
A special treat to all those present… A nice film on the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway Bagnall Class tiny steam locos….courtesy Dr. Shirish Yande.
After a loong list of videos playing, the fans are still hungry for more…the DHR baby could not have come at a better time. Cheers to Steam!
Update at 4.25 PM :
* Videos by Poochi Venkat, Swaran Udasin and Archit Goel being screened.
* Some ‘collector item’ videos screened.
* Heritage run to commemorate IR’s 150th Anniversary Celebrations.
* Majestic Heritage run videos. Truly Superb.
* Beautiful KZJ WDP-1 15064 at Budvel, on the KCG-DNC line
* GOC YDM-4 at GOC
* MLY YDM-4 starting up
* GOC WDP-2 starting up.
Update at 4 PM :
* Videos of the WP7200 heritage run between AJJ-WJR
* Video of GY Shakti hauling a passenger at high speed.
* Mr Kasi Lingam speeding past in ED’s WAP-4.
* WDP-4 led Udyan at Pophlaj Scissors crossing.
* MLY WDM-2 smoking to glory.
* AP with LGD WAP-4 speedeing at Multai
* Passing Chambal river bridge in Jhelum exp
* TN exp at Multai doing 110kmph.
* TN towards Delhi at Multai.
* ET WAM-4 with Ganga Kaveri exp ripping through Multai
* Gondwana crossing Jhelum
Update at 3.35 PM :
Giridhar Patnaik and Raghavendra Rao are the winners of the IRFCA Quiz.
Three Cheers to the two of them !
* Next on the agenda: Videos taken by IRFCAns
Update at 3.30 PM :
And the winners are…
Ooops we have a tie between PVS Praveen/ Sagar Tipnis and Giridhar/Raghavendra rao teams.
1. Where are the lines of the DHR situated? Ans: Tindaria, both right
2. According to a story, this train was introduced for a particular RM’s daughter to attend college and return back the same day? Ans: Lalbagh Express. Giridhar and Raghavendra get it spot on.. and win the IRFCA QUiz.
Update at 3.15 PM
8 peope shortlisted and they drew lots to form teams among themselves.
The final teams are:
Pravin Sathe and Vrijilesh Rai
PVS Praveen and Sagar Tipnis
Krishna Kumar and Vivek Manvi
Giridhar Patnaik and Raghavendra Rao
Modus operandi is simple…each team gets 5 coaches for answering a question…passed or direct. Whovever builds the longest train wins!
Update at 2.45 PM :
* Talk on Renaming of stations on IR by Mr. Ajai Banerjee
* Changes made on request of State Govts, not IR.
* Old station names which have undergone a change now.
* List of old and new names, arranged state-wise.
Update at 2.30 PM
Build Your Train Quiz Prelims…send in your answers….
Q1 Who or what is a ferroequinologist? Rly connection!
Q2 Fill up first and last on this list: fill 1 and 8.
Q3 Which one is the highest BG station in India?
Q4. Which project of IR is SIMIR
Q5 Which became India’s No 1 e-com website in its first full year of operation?
Q6 Whcih place did Gandhiji once describe as the “dead center of India”?
Q7 Who designed the Victoria (or now CST) terminus?
Q8 Who was independent India’s 1st Rly Minister?
Q9 Only 1 of Punjab’s 5 rivers has no train named after it, but a train operates in Pakistan with that name. Which?
Q10 What was Dimapur station, the main station in Nagaland known as before?
Q11 WHich suburb of Patna is a divisional HQ in IR?
Q12 Which train runs thru New Delhi or Delhi without stopping at either?
Q13 Which class of loco was used during the first days of Howrah Rajadhani Exp.?
Q14 Which stadium does the Railways’ Ranji team play its “home” matches in?
Q15 What generic food item is named after a station on the Bangalore-Mysore railway route?
Q16 Who was the captain of the gold winning hockey team at 1980 Moscow Olympiad? There is a rly connection.
Q17 Identify the lake .(Visual clue). Pic is the same lake as on Poochi Venkat’s pic on the latest TAAG.
Q18 Visual : connect three logos to one person…logos cannot be reproduced here.
Q19 What important signalling device was missing at most stations between Gadag Solapur MG route?
Q20 Visual clue: A well stocked bar with real liquor aboard a train. Which Indian train?
Update at 1.30 PM
* Guess who wins the best whistle contest? Not a DM or AP or an AM or a DP…but the good old WP; steam locos still beat both electric and diesel when it comes to romance, it seems.
* One other thing all you fans have missed at the convention…SUMPTIOUS LUNCH!!!
* Regarding the comment on the blogcasters “caste”…there are two casters…one of diesel and other of electric castes.
* Post Lunch…brace for the Build Your Train Quiz prelims question paper…
Update on 1 PM :
* Tempers are getting frayed! Electric lobby gains ground!
* Mr. Seshadri comes up with some very strong arguments for the diesels.
* Pravin Sathe winds things down with a nice statement. Diesels are at everyone’s heart, while the heads go for the electrics.
* A post debate vote seems to have got some people convereted to diesel fans, but still electric wins; note that this is only amongst those present at Pune!!
* Vijay Vadrevou, sums up that being IR fans, we appreciate both aspects of locos, and we should keep both the categories.
* A vote for diesel-cum-electric fans seems to have a lot of takers!
Update on 12.30 PM :
* The Great D vs E is on !!!
* An initial handcount shows a slight majority for the Es.
* Apurva is smoking all about the Ds.. he’s our die-hard-diesel man.
* Points from Apu : Too many hands to handle the electrics, thermal plants pollute more than a diesel loco; Many countries (including developed ones like US) are still diesel; what happens when there is a power failure; Catenary investment is huge; catenary also spoils our photo-ops!!
* E lobby represented by Vivek Manvi & Giridhar Patnaik.
* Points from E lobby: Aesthetics; a diesel loco needs to carry its own power plant; a diesel loco is actually a diesel-electric loco; electrics can be compact.
* Mr Sheshadri says: We travel by train for the romance of it! And what better than a diesel to provide one with that !
Update at 12.25 PM :
* Amazing.. I just cannot imagine the details that have been incorporated.
* A special thanks to Mr Subramaniam, SSE of Basin Bridge Trip Shed, who has personally explained the working of the WAP-4 in and out to Poochi.
* The explanation not only includes energizing the loco, but also explains the running and troubleshooting; and the emergency safety and contingency features of the loco.
* And well, a short ‘foot plate’ out of the trip shed!
* Back into the trip shed and de-energizing the loco!
* We close the presentation with a video/audio of the blower ‘blowing up’… simply amazing!
* Mr Kasi Lingam puts in a few words about the WAP-5 too!
Update at 12 PM :
* Energizing the WAP-4 : By Poochi Venkat.
* Video of Poochi getting a lesson on how to start the WAP-4 class of loco (#22370).
* 8 minutes for the pressure to build up in a WAP-4… but it hardly took 8 seconds for us railfans 😉
* Amazingly clear and lucid explanations of how we ‘ignite’ the P4.
* Superb video presentation. Kudos to Poochi for the amazing presentation. He has covered all aspects of the WAP-4, all the controls very well explained, all parts shown, including the interiors of the cab and also takes us into the ‘working belly’ of the loco.
Update at 11.45 AM :
* Talk on Major Accidents on IR in 2004-05 by Mr Ajai Banerjee
* All accidents resulting in 10 or more deaths have been considered.
* A grim topic, but a very pertinent one; we try to delve into the causes behind these.
* On the menu are the Matsyagandha tragedy, Sabarmati express collision with a freight train at Samalaya, Nalgonda washout of Delta passenger, Bomb in Shramjeevi exp, Bundelkhand accident at Datia.
Update at 11.30 AM :
* Did you know that almost all cameras use a Sony CCD sensor? Well, I did not. Sony fans would be disappointed. Poochi says, Sony’s optics are not very good.
* Poochi makes photography sound so very simple !!
* Points to ponder : Aperture has to be given priority, shutter speed better set manually, have a simgle point focus, Always pre-focus before the actual snap..
* Poochi also give a low down on his snaps which have featured on the TAAG and other TTs and publications..
Update at 11.15 AM :
* Snapshot – The art of good railway photography by Poochivenkat
* Presentation by Poochi & Bharath Moro (Gallery administrator) on the Art of Photography and ways to make it great… hope we can now catch up with Poochi!
* It is a very very interesting and informative presentation. And very technical too!
Update at 11 AM :
Firstly, an apology for the delay in posting the update as there was a problem with the internet connection at the venue.
* The session began at 9AM with registration and breakfast.
* The Convention began when Dr Shirish Yande ceremoniously lighted the typical IR signal lamp of old times and turned it to proceed…. green; and rang the platform to commence the proceedings.
* The program began with a presentation of the video of a steam loco heritage run, by our inhouse videographer/photographer Poochi Venkat.
* Dr Yande gave the opening speech where he recalled a man being thrown out of a train at Pietermaritzburg in South Africa for having the wrong skin colour and how it changed the course of history in the world.
* 10AM : Introduction of all members on, with snippets of each one’s initiation into railfanning.
* Amongst us today is Mr KasiLingam, loco pilot from SR, Mr Pandey, ex-station master, Mr Jayant, a motorman in CSTM, Amrutha Bhate- the only female member who is active as a railfan.
* Long distance arrivees are Mr Buddhadeb Saha from Kolkata, about a dozen from Chennai.
* Also with us are two founder members, Mr Dheeraj Sanghi & Mr Ajai Banerjee.
* Exit poll on the D vs E : Looks as if Non-wired Apurva is on top.
Update at 9AM :
The platform is being filled up and the ticket queue is full. Train No IRFCA 06 will start at 9 AM.
Thank you for visiting this space. Features live blogcasting of Shri Laloo Prasad Yadav’s Railway Budget 2006-07 presentation speech in the Parliament on Friday, Feb 24, 2006
Note: The following is neither a complete nor accurate account of the Railway Budget, but more of indicators/highlights/snippets of what has transpired in the Parliament house, brought to you live.
1340 PM :
* New SF trains on NDLS-AGC-MTJ routes
* Long term freight discount scheme
1330 PM : * 190 trains to get 23-24 coaches
* HWH and BCT Rajdhani to be speeded by 1 hour * 190 trains to get 23-24 coaches
* HWH and BCT Rajdhani to be speeded by 1 hour* Pandemonium in the Parliament. Opposition can be heard more than LPY. LPY keeps muttering something…
1310 PM :
* Prashanti exp to BBS
* Renewal period for MSTS increased from 3 days to 10days
* Superfast charges applicable on MSTs and quarterly season tickets (QSTs) reduced to one-fourth of the current level
* Tariff fixation mechanism for military traffic to be rationalised and simplified
* 14 daily, 27 weekly, 5 biweekly, 5 triweekly trains
* 1037/38 Patna-Pune now biweekly
* 2683/84 SBC-ERS exp now biweekly
* 2661/62 Podhigai now tri-weekly
* 2715/16 Sachkand now daily
* Belgaum-Miraj pass now 6 days
* Hatia-LTT now biweekly
* SBC-GHY now tri-weekly
* NDLS-GHY SK now tri-weekly
* HWH-GHY Saraighat now 5days
* HWH-DHN Upasna biweekly
* Kathgodam-DHN triweekly
* NZM-YPR KSK now rerouted via MMR-PUNE-ASK biweekly
* Archana exp now via Rai Bareily
* Ranchi-Ajmer new train
* Kishanganj-Ajmer new trainNew lines:
* Sonamukhi- Rainagar
* Mailaduturai- Villupuram
1300 PM :
* NMR and DHR are now World heritage sites
* Increase in foreign tourists
* More trains to Religious and Historic places
* Garib Nawaz exp to Ajmer from Pakistan * 150kmph on NDLS-CNB/Patna routes
* Rail wheel Factory, Chapra
New Trains :
* ADi-Patna weekly
* YPR-AII weekly
* Delhi-Patna Garib Rath Weekly
* Del-Mum Garib Rath Weekly
* Del-Chennai Garib Rath Weekly
* Chapra-GKP Garib Rath Weekly
* Chennai-MAQ triweekly
* Chennai-Nagercoil Weekly
* VSKP-NZB biweekly
* Pune-LKO weekly
* JBP-JAT weekly
* JP-ASR biweekly
* Mathura-Alwar pass
* MTM-TPTY pass
* ASN-Bokaro MEMU
* Purna-Adilabad after GC
* Nanded-Adilabad after GC
1250 PM :
* Staff Quarters at all new divisional and zonal HQs
* Running Rooms to be built near stations, if not so
* Better facilities at running rooms, including cheaper and better food
* DEMU manufacturing facility at Sonepur (?)
* Super Speciality Hospitals at many places
* Many new hospitals at various new divisional HQs
* Another coach manufacturing unit near Chennai (?)
* More benefits for employees
* Better facilities for candidates appearing for RRB exams
* Retiring Rooms will be upgraded
* LHB will now be on Patna and Sealdah Rajdhani
* Vaishali, Brindavan, NZM-GWL exp will have newer facilities
* Better seats, lighting, cool interiors
* Better catering in non-PC trains
* Better safety for travel
* All A/B/C routes to have MACL signalling
* Priority on reducing accident rates
* 1000 trains will have RPF escort patrols
* Safety for women to be given priority
1235 PM :
* Many Shatabdis and Rajdhanis will be speeded up
* Many trains will be made 23-24 coachers
* 200 stations will have longer platforms to accomodate 24 coachers
* 250 more stations to have longer platforms
* More trains to have Pantry cars
* Better catering facility on trains and stations
* Automatic vending machines and Food Plazas at many stations
* Parcel loading and unloading at all stations with halts for more than 5mins
* SLRs which are unused on some trains will be replaced by GS coaches
* 50% fare concessions for farmers in Sleeper Class
* E-Ticketing to be cheaper
* E-ticket for all M/E trains
* E-Ticket charges reduced by Rs 20 for AC and Rs 15 for SL
* More than 200 Automatic Ticket Vending machines
* Jan Sadharan Ticket Booking Policy using Prepaid Vouchers
* More Rail Travel agents, more in Rural Areas too
* Model Stations in all zones and divisions
1230 PM :
* More emphasis on freight
* Faster rake movements for freight
* Wagon turnaround time will be reduced
* Wagon mantainence to be prioritized
* Wagon Terminal Improvent Facility to be given extra funds.
* Increased production of both Diesel and Electric Locos
* Try to reduce losses in catering
* Rolling stock will be improved
* New All India Time Table for trains which will be pax friendly
* Many trains will be speeded up and made SF
1220 PM :
* Rs 4,170 crore to be borrowed by IR
* First time ever: Rs 11,000 crore fund surplus
* Diesel & Petrol Freight charges down by 8%
* Freight revenue up 9%
* Private parties will be allowed to run container rakes.
* New routes to tap market will be prioritized.
* More EMU/DMU trains in city and suburban areas
* Dynamic fare structures for all classes
* ATMs, Cyber cafes at stations
* New class of trains GARIB RATH having 25% lesser fare than 3A.
1210 PM :
* Rs 23,475 crore plan outlay for the year
* Plan outlay 32% higher
* Rs 22,200 cr outlay for freight corridor
* 55 New trains this year
* 1A fare cut by 18%
* 2A fare cut by 10%
* No hike in either pax or freight fares.PS: Acknowledgements due to Ms. Tanvi Abhyankar, who helped me in compiling a lot of this data.