Friday, 27 June 2014 16:23
The Southern Railway was considering establishing another entrance to the Coimbatore Railway Junction. Talks with the district administration to acquire land near the Old Post Office Road for this purpose have been initiated, according to Rakesh Misra, General Manager of Southern Railway.
The junction already has an entrance from the Bank Road and another from Goods Shed Road. Further, plans were also afoot to construct a skywalk connecting the entrance and the first platform. As the plans were still being worked out, the costs estimates were yet to be finalised, he told journalists here on Thursday.
A major cleanliness drive had been taken up at Coimbatore Railway Junction, which along with Chennai Central, Egmore and Thiruvananthapuram, were among the major ones in south zone.
Apart from imposing fines for passengers who litter, maintenance works have also been given a major thrust.
Friday, 27 June 2014 16:04
Brought into being by John Sullivan, popularly referred to as the founder of this hill station in 1823-25 by damming hill streams, the Ooty Lake extending over about 20 hectares is not only one of the biggest tourist attractions south of the Vindhyas but for a long time now, is also one of the most polluted water bodies.
Though many know this and the reasons for the lake getting polluted, very few are aware that the situation would have been worse but for some birds which reside there.
According to P.J. Vasanthan, a conservationist and an authority on birds, their role in preserving the lake ecology is significant.
About 15 kinds of water birds can been spotted at the lake, he told The Hindu here on Thursday.
Among them were three types of egrets, four types of sand pipers, two types of snipes, moor hens, and common coots.
Most of them are colonists, he said adding that barring true migrants from North India like sand pipers, and snipes others become resident breeders in course of time.
Saturday, 22 March 2014 10:59
The fourth and last oil-fired steam locomotive, manufactured by the Golden Rock Workshop in Tiruchi, was put on trial run on the Mettupalayam-Coonoor section of the Nilgirs Mountain Railway on Wednesday.
The furnace oil-fired locomotive will replace the conventional coal-fired locomotive.
The NMR services, declared as world heritage site by UNESCO, uses the unique rack and pinion system on the Mettupalayam – Coonoor section as it climbs a steep gradient of 8.33 per cent, considered the highest in Asia.
From Mettupalayam to Kallar it is an ordinary meter gauge track for 5.8 km, and from Kallar to Coonoor it is operated on a rack and pinion system. Distance from Kallar to Coonoor is 27 km. From Coonoor to Udhagamandalam, the train is hauled by the conventional YDM 4 diesel locomotive for 9 km.
Tourists prefer to travel in NMR to enjoy the scenic beauty of the Nilgiris valley as the train chugs through 41.8 km negotiating 208 curves, 16 tunnels and 250 bridges. Uphill journey because of the steep gradient requires 290 minutes and the down hill journey takes 215 minutes.
Earlier, X Class Swiss locomotives were used. These coal-fired engines developed snags and also due to non-availability of coal, especially inconsistency in quality, the NMR services witnessed frequent disruption. Hence, in 2009, it was decided to replace these engines.
Despite loss owing to operational costs, Indian Railways decided to continue the NMR services and allocated a total of Rs. 40 crore for four locomotives. The Golden Rocks Workshop commenced the work in 2009 and from February 2011 to March 2014, all the four locomotives were delivered in a phased manner.
The fourth and last locomotive was put on trial on Wednesday signalling the end of the usage of vintage looking Swiss X class locomotives which chugged scores of passengers from 1918 to 2014. The improvised furnace oil-fired locomotives come with the same vintage look.
Divisional Railway Manager of Salem Railway Division Subhranshu said that oil-fired locomotives end the issues of disturbance in operation owing to non-availability of coal and inconsistency in quality. In addition, the sparks from the engines had the risk of triggering fire and oil-fired locomotives end that risk. Coal-fired engines emanate ashes polluting the forest area. In addition, the cost of manpower for handling coal, cleaning the engines and boilers come to an end as oil-fired locomotives will prove cost-effective.
The new locomotive weighing 50 tonnes can haul up to 97.6 tonnes with 30 km speed in plains and 15 km in gradient. The locomotive with over 3,400 components uses low viscosity furnace oil. The locomotive comes with a fuel tank capacity of 2,250 litres of furnace oil, 850 litres of diesel and two stainless steel water tanks can store 4,500 litres of water for the boiler to ensure an uninterrupted journey.
Mr.Subhranshu said that four locomotives are sufficient for the existing number of services and for a marginal increase in the number of services during the tourist season.
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