New Delhi: Seeking to wean away more freight from road transport, Railways is changing the design of its wagons to increase their number in a rake carrying trucks.
Currently, one rake carries 40 wagons while the proposed new design would accommodate 57 wagons on a trip.
The service of carrying trucks on rail, known as “Roll on and Roll off”, is operational between Mumbai and Goa on the Konkan Railway system on an experimental basis.
There is a plan to make this system operational in other parts of the country as well once the new design is approved.
“We have submitted the new design to the Resource Design and Standard Organisation (RDSO) for its approval. Once approved, the new look rake would carry 57 trucks on a trip,” Anurag Mishra, Managing Director of Konkan Railway, said.
The 430-km distance between Mumbai and Goa is covered in 10 hours on rail while it takes longer for truckers to commute the distance.
“Basically, it is a cost-effective synergy link between railways and road. Besides reducing the transit time, it reduces the risk of accident on roads,” said Mishra.
“There are other advantages of this system. While it reduces pollution, it also offers benefits of secure transit with adequate relief from harassment caused by inspecting authorities on roads,” said Mishra.
The Roll on and Roll off services are common in Europe. “However here it is picking up in India gradually, said V C Sinha, Chief Commercial Manager, Konkan Railway. “We have now extended the service between Kolad and Surathkal and Akola and Surathkal.”
Konkan railway earned Rs 21.38 crore from the service. “The earnings will go up once the rolling stock is modified as pay loads would be increased from 1,000 tonnes to 1,500 tonnes.”
This is a fuel-efficient system since the service saves the precious diesel. For the transporter, the service is a practical alternative in terrorist-prone areas where chances of truck getting waylaid on highways is much higher, rail officials said.