Indian Railways News

Highest-ever Freight load of 1,160 MT transported in 2017-2018 by Indian Railways

The Indian Railways transported over 1,160 million tonnes of freight in 2017-18 which is the highest-ever for the national transporter, ministry officials said.

In the last five years, there has been a steady growth in freight loading by the railways.

While in 2016-2017, the total freight loading was 1,109 million tonnes, in the previous year it was 1,104 million tonnes, the officials said.

They said in 2014-2015, the number stood at 1,095 million tonnes while in 2013-2014 the railways’ freight loading was 1,051 million tonnes.

Freight traffic is the major source of revenue for the railways. Only one-third of the 13,000 trains running daily on the national transporter’s network are freight trains, but it accounts for 65 per cent of the railways’ total revenue.

Raw materials from producing centres to factories and finished/semi-finished products from factories to markets or ports for export are carried by the railways as freight.

Railways records rise in Revenue, spurt in Passengers in 2017-2018

The railways has registered a healthy growth in revenues from ticketing last fiscal despite competitive prices on offer from airlines and without raising fares, official data shows.

In 2017-2018, the national transporter earned Rs 50,000 crore from passenger fare, an increase of Rs 2,551 crore over 2016-2017.

It has also recorded a spurt in the number of passengers with a two per cent growth in suburban railway ticketing and 6.3 per cent growth in bookings through PRS.

Overall, the number of passengers travelling in trains has increased from 8219.38 million in 2016-2017 to 8267.32 million in 2017-2018, official data shows.

The growth has been registered despite concerns over the railways losing out on passengers due to the dynamic pricing of airlines and also due to the flexi-fare system introduced in premium trains. However, that has not impacted the transporter much, officials said.

Flexi-fare scheme was introduced in September 2016 in Rajdhani, Duronto and Shatabdi trains. While, in 2016-2017, the total revenue in flexi-fare trains was Rs 1931.60 crore with 13.73 million passengers in 2017-2018 till February, it rose to 14.08 million passengers and revenues of Rs 2,296.75 crore.

The average distance covered by trains across the railway network has also grown from 559 km in 2016-2017 to 566 km in 2017-2018.

In terms of freight loading too, the railways has shown a positive trend with an increase in all commodities. Coal loading has increased by 21.67 million tonne, containers by 6.82 million tonne, cement by 10.1 million tonne and steel by 4.79 million tonne.

Overall, loading has seen an increase of 53.2 million tonne with the total loading in 2017-2018 being 1162 million tonne.

Railways steams to Freight record in FY-18 on Coal

The Railways has achieved its highest-ever freight loading in fiscal 2018, supported largely by the additional transport of commodities such as coal, cement and containers.

This has helped the Railways buck the gloomy trend of the previous two fiscals, when there was a down-slide in ‘throughput’ — a common parameter that measures both loading and average distance.

The Railways loaded 1,167.5 million tonnes in FY18, lugging an additional 53 MT over the previous year’s 1,108 MT. The incremental loading was supported by a sharp uptick in the loading of coal and other commodities such as cement as also containers.

Coal accounts for 40 per cent of the total extra goods the public carrier loaded in the year. While cement’s share was 20 per cent, containers formed 13 per cent of the total incremental cargo.

“Pig iron and steel are the next biggest contributors, accounting for 9 per cent of incremental loading growth,” said a Railway official.

The Railways has also reversed the drop in average freight distance. In FY18, goods travelled an average of 566 km on rail networks. This is higher than the average distance goods moved in the previous year (566 km), but is lower than the 594-km mark for FY16.

Commodities that travelled longer on the rail network in FY18 include coal and raw material for steel plants, pig iron and finished steel, iron ore, food grains and fertilisers.

This growth has been partly spurred by policies put in place by the Railways in the past two years. It has completed new networks, entered into long-term agreements with users and offered them freight discounts for moving extra cargo.

It has also done away with port congestion surcharge, a levy particularly unpopular with clients, that had prompted some of its customers to shift to other modes of transport and migrate to roads and waterways. One type of long-term contract the Railways is signing with some of its customers (from whom it gets bulk business) insulates it from freight tariff hikes.

350 Locomotives & 2,500 Coaches in a Year – The Railways is on a Production Roll

The Indian Railways is on a mission—to increase the number of trains it has running. Railways is looking to expand operations, and is increasing manufacturing capacity.

The Chittaranjan Locomotive Works (CLW) and the Integral Coach Factory (ICF) are one of the many pillars of the national transporter and are working overtime to achieve this aim, and make sure that its needs are met.

Just 5 minutes before 11 p.m., on the last day of the 2017-2018 financial year, a spanking new electric locomotive rolled out of the CLW.

The 350th locomotive to be built by the nation’s best rail locomotive manufacturer, it was flagged off by Ghanshyam Singh, Member (Traction), Railway Board.

A Railway official revealed that the scramble towards electrification was the reason for the locomotive manufacturing boom and that this move will help the national transporter save fuel costs.

He also added that more advanced electric locomotives will be designed, developed and manufactured, and the CLW is all set to make 9,000 HP locomotives, capable of reaching speeds of around 200 kmph.

The Indian Railways manufactured around 350 locomotives, and 2500 coaches! The CLW achieved an all-time high production target of 325 locomotives, assisted in the production of 25 locomotives at Diesel Locomotive Works, Varanasi, and two others at Diesel Loco Modernisation Works, Patiala.

The coaches are right behind the locomotives. The ICF surpassed its production target this year as well, manufacturing around 2,503 coaches. The General Manager of the ICF, Sri Mani, flagged off the 2,500th coach made of stainless steel, with a seating capacity of 102 persons.

Officials at the ICF told that on an average, manufacturing a coach takes around 20 days. The coaches have a 40-year lifespan and do not corrode easily.

The ICF is also making multiple electric units for Chennai, Mumbai, and Delhi, and Diesel Electric Multiple Unit Coaches for the Kolkata Metro as well.

Indian Railways carries out 4,405 kms Track Renewal works – highest ever in the history.

In a bid to enhance safety across the Indian Railways network, the national transporter has carried out renewal of record 4,405 km of old tracks in the financial year 2017-18. As per an official statement, the renewal of tracks has been the highest ever progress, which exceeds the target of 4,389 km (revised to 4,400 km) for the year. The report stated the fact that the previous best was 4,175 km of track renewal in financial year 2004-05 due to the deployment of the special rail safety fund. The special rail safety fund was set up during former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s regime.

During last month, according to railways data, railway track renewal of 642 km was carried out, so far, which is the best ever progress in any month, the report claimed. The previous best were track renewal of 576 km in the month of January, this year and track renewal of 523 km in the month of March in year 2005. The total track length of the national transporter is at 1,14,907 km and out of this, on an average 4,500 km of track should be renewed per year, the report stated.

In the last several years, the development in the track renewals was constantly coming down because of the financial constraints, which led to huge backlog of around 5,000 km renewal of tracks. This also resulted in multiple railway accidents due to derailments, the report said.

According to Indian Railways, safety in train operations was given the top most priority by the government, due to which the number of derailment cases came down from 76 during April, 2016 to February, 2017 to 53 during April, 2017 and February, 2018. Moreover, in order to increase safety in train operations and for track renewal, the government in Union Budget 2018 announced that a Rashtriya Rail Sanraksha Kosh of Rs 1 Lakh crore will be spent over a period of five years.

Recently, Indian Railways created a new record. For the very first time in 35 years, Indian Railways witnessed less than 100 accidents. Till March 30, 73 railway accidents were reported, which is 29 per cent reduction from the 104 accidents that were recorded in financial year 2016-2017. The number of railway accidents across the nation fell to triple digit figures of 908, only in the year 1968-1969. Before that, over 1000 railway accidents were reported every year.

पूर्व मध्य रेल मुख्यालय में क्षेत्रीय रेल राजभाषा बैठक का आयोजन

पूर्व मध्य रेल, मुख्यालय में क्षेत्रीय रेल राजभाषा की 59वीं बैठक श्री ललित चन्द्र त्रिवेदी, महाप्रबंधक की अध्यक्षता में आयोजित हुई. बैठक की अध्यक्षता करते हुए श्री त्रिवेदी ने बताया कि वे स्वयं मुख्य राजभाषा अधिकारी के पद पर कार्य कर चुके हैं और राजभाषा के कार्यकलापों से भलिभाँति परिचित हैं. उन्होंने निर्देश दिया कि सारे कोड/मैनुअल यथाशीघ्र द्विभाषी किए जाएँ. उनका कहना था कि बिहार कई बड़े साहित्यकार, लेखक, कवियों की जन्मभूमि रही है. उनकी कृतियाँ यथासंभव पुस्तकालयों में रखी जाएँ. अगली राजभाषा बैठक में बिहार के कतिपय साहित्यकारों की तस्वीर लगे और उनके बारे में बताया जाए. रेलवे बोर्ड से प्रकाशित रेल राजभाषा आदि पत्रिकाओं में इस रेलवे से संबंधित कोई न कोई रचना अवश्य हो. हिंदी में उत्कृष्ट कार्य करने वाले को समय-समय पर पुरस्कृत किया जाए ताकि अधिकारियों/कर्मचारियों को हिंदी में कार्य करने के लिए प्रोत्साहित किया जा सके. उन्होंने राजभाषा पत्रिकाओं में प्रकाशित रचनाओं के मानदेय को बढ़ाने हेतु रेलवे बोर्ड से पत्राचार करने को कहा. उन्होंने निर्देश दिया कि स्टेशनों पर हिंदी पुस्तकालयों की स्थिति ठीक करने हेतु प्रयास किए जाएँ. इस अवसर पर महाप्रबंधक ने राजभाषा में उत्कृष्ट कार्य करने के लिए सुरक्षा विभाग को अंतर्विभागीय राजभाषा शील्ड प्रदान किया जिसे मुख्य सुरक्षा आयुक्त श्री रवीन्द्र वर्मा ने प्राप्त किया.

श्री अनूप कुमार, अपर महाप्रबंधक ने कहा कि भारतीय रेल राष्ट्र की जीवन रेखा है. हमें अपनी परंपरा और संस्कृति को बचाये रखना है तो अपनी भाषा को बचाये रखना होगा. उन्होंने कहा कि राजभाषा हिंदी के प्रयोग-प्रसार के लिए जो भी आवश्यक कदम हों उन्हें उठाया जाए.

मुख्य राजभाषा अधिकारी श्री राकेश तिवारी ने महाप्रबंधक महोदय एवं समिति के सदस्यों का स्वागत करते हुए कहा कि मुख्य राजभाषा अधिकारी के रूप में इस रेल में यह मेरी पहली बैठक है. उन्होंने सभी को संघ की राजभाषा नीति का पालन करने हेतु कहा एवं रनिंग रूम में छोटी-छोटी कहानियों की पुस्तकें रखने को कहा ताकि ड्यूटी पर रहने वाले पायलट/सहायक पायलट आदि इसका लाभ उठा सके. इस अवसर पर मुख्यालय स्थित विभागों/मंडलों आदि से आये अधिकारियों ने राजभाषा प्रयोग-प्रसार का विवरण प्रस्तुत किया.

बैठक का संचालन करते हुए श्री राजेश कुमार, उप मुख्य राजभाषा अधिकारी सह मुख्‍य जनसंपर्क अधिकारी ने रेलवे बोर्ड द्वारा निर्धारित सभी मदों पर हुई प्रगति का ब्यौरा समिति के समक्ष प्रस्तुत किया. उन्होंने अधिकारीगणों से आग्रह किया कि वे जब भी निरीक्षण पर जाएँ तो राजभाषा चेक-लिस्ट के अनुसार भी निरीक्षण करें.

श्री अशोक कुमार श्रीवास्तव, राजभाषा अधिकारी ने अध्यक्ष सहित बैठक में उपस्थित सभी अधिकारियों को धन्यवाद दिया.

Dilip Kumar Singh take over charge as Principal Chief Operations Manager, Central Railway

श्री दिलीप कुमार सिंह ने मध्य रेल के प्रधान मुख्य परिचालन प्रबंधक (PCOM) का कार्यभार ग्रहण कर लिया है । इस से पूर्व आप उत्तर मध्य रेल , इलाहाबाद  में मुख्य परिचालन प्रबंधक के पद पर कार्यरत थे। वे टेक्नोलॉजी, विधि में स्तानक एवं प्रबंधन में मास्टर की डिग्री है।

1986 आइ.आर.टी.एस बैच के अधिकारी श्री सिंह को विभिन्न विभागों मे कार्य करने का गहन प्रशासनिक अनुभव है। वे इससे पूर्व मुख्य महाप्रबंधक, क्रिस (CRIS) मुंबई, मुख्य वाणिज्य प्रबंधक (यात्री विपणन), पश्चिम रेल एवं मुख्य मालभाड़ा यातायात प्रबंधक,मध्य रेल आदि पदों पर सफलता पूर्वक कार्य कर चुके हैं तथा मलेशिया सिंगापुर और अमेरिका की यात्रा कर चुके हैं।

MUMBAI: Shri Dilip Kumar Singh has taken over as Principal Chief Operations Manager (PCOM), Central Railway, Mumbai. Prior to this he was working as Chief Operations Manager, North Central Railway, Allahabad. He is Bachelor of Technology holds degree in LLB and Masters in Management.

Shri Singh belongs to 1986 IRTS Batch. He has varied administrative experience as Chief General Manager, CRIS, Mumbai, Chief Commercial Manager (Passenger Marketing), Western Railway and Chief Freight Transportation Manager, Central Railway and also visited Malaysia, Singapore and United States of America on official assignment.

यह समाचार सुनील उदासी, मुख्य जन संपर्क अधिकारी, मध्य रेल, छत्रपति शिवाजी महाराज टर्मिनस मुंबई द्वारा जारी किया गया है।

Western Railway achieves Commendable Laurels in Coaching and Freight Operations

Western Railway has always been in the forefront for providing various passenger conveniences be it, in case of punctuality, introduction of new trains or extension/increase in frequency of existing trains and Holiday Special trains, additional coaches to clear waitlisted passengers, etc. These efforts have yielded the best results & Western Railway has gained the distinction of securing the “numero uno” position among all Zonal Railways by achieving 91.41% right time arrival of trains at the destination stations.

According to a press release issued by Shri Ravinder Bhakar, Chief Public Relations Officer of Western Railway, during the year 14 new trains were introduced, 10 trains extended, frequency of 3 trains increased and 11 new halts at various stations were provided to Mail/Express trains on Western Railway. 2721 Holiday Specials were run for the convenience of passengers during the year 2017-18, connecting various corners of the country. 7626 extra coaches were attached to clear waitlist & help to ease overcrowding on trains. Also, 123 were trains were speeded up during the current year.  Similarly, Western Railway also accomplished noteworthy achievements in Mumbai suburban section by introducing India’s first Air-conditioned EMU train. 12 services of the AC locals ply daily between Churchgate & Borivali/Virar. Recently, Western Railway also extended the Harbour line corridor from Andheri to Goregaon with 49 services. 209 VPH/VPU rakes & 1812 VPH/VPUs on piecemeal were loaded. Also 140 RMT rakes & 956 RMT on piecemeal were loaded.

Freight Operations:

In a first of its kind over Indian Railway, Western Railway added another feather to its cap by running the first ever double stack container train long haul on 7th March, 2018. Western Railway also achieved a loading of 76.70 MTs during the period 2017-18. The loading is 9.8% more than the loading of 69.83 MTs as compared to last year and 3.6% more than Railway Board target of 74.00 MTs. Western Railway secured 1st rank in Indian Railway for Petroleum loading by capturing 20% share of total petroleum products of Indian Railway. Western Railway has shown remarkable performance in Cement loading too. 11.73 MTs of cement have been loaded in year 2017-18 which is 51.4% more than loading of 7.75 MTs in 2016-17. Western Railway achieved a container loading of 17.40 MTs against a target of 16.55 MTs (5.1% increase) and achieved 17.2% increase as compared to last year. Western Railway registered a 23.5% increase by achieving a loading of 9.88 MTs of other commodities against a target of 8.00 MTs and an increase of 16.8% as compared to last year. Western Railway achieved 360% increase in Gypsum loading of 1.14 MTs against 0.25 MTs in 2016-17. Other commodities which has contributed to the increase in freight loading includes food grains, iron & steel, coal etc. In a major boost to auto loading in W.Rly, the auto giant Maruti has joined hands with Western Railway to transport its cars to various parts of the country from Detroj in Gujarat and the first such rake was rolled out on 24th March, 2018. Western Railway transported 125 Maruti Suzuki cars in 25 NMG coaches from Detroj in Ahmedabad Division to Nidvanda Railway Station of South Western Railway.

Private Freight Terminals:

New Private Freight Terminals have been commissioned by Western Railwayat Sukhpur, Viramgam, Sanjan stations which has tremendously boosted the loading for container traffic.

पश्चिम रेलवे ने कोचिंग तथा माल परिवहन में दर्ज की उत्कृष्ट उपलब्धि। गंतव्य स्थल पर ट्रेनों को सही समय पर पहुँचाने के मामले में सभी क्षेत्रीय रेलों के बीच पश्चिम रेलवे का स्थान अव्वल’।

पश्चिम रेलवे यात्रियों को विभिन्न सुविधाएँ प्रदान करने में अग्रणी रही है, चाहे वह समयपालनता हो, नई ट्रेनों की शुरुआत, वर्तमान ट्रेनों तथा हॉलिडे विशेष ट्रेनों के विस्तार/फेरे बढ़ाना या फिर अतिरिक्त भीड़ को कम करने हेतु अतिरिक्त कोच लगाना। इन सभी प्रयासों को अच्छा प्रतिसाद प्राप्त हुआ है और अब इसी क्रम में पश्चिम रेलवे ने अपनी 91.41 प्रतिशत ट्रेनों को सही समय पर गंतव्य स्टेशन तक पहुँचाने के मामले में सभी क्षेत्रीय रेलों को पछाड़ते हुए अव्वल होने का खिताब अपने नाम किया है।

पश्चिम रेलवे के मुख्य जनसम्पर्क अधिकारी श्री रविंद्र भाकर द्वारा जारी प्रेस विज्ञप्ति के अनुसार इस वर्ष के दौरान पश्चिम रेलवे पर 14 नई ट्रेनों की शुरुआत की गई, 10 ट्रेनों को विस्तारित किया गया, 3 ट्रेनों की बारम्बारता में वृद्धि की गई तथा विभिन्न स्टेशनों पर  मेल/एक्सप्रेस ट्रेनों के 11 नये ठहराव प्रदान किये गये। यात्रियों की सुविधा के लिए वर्ष 2017-18 के दौरान देश के विभिन्न हिस्सों के लिए 2721 हॉलिडे स्पेशल ट्रेनें चलाई गईं। अतिरिक्त भीड़ को कम करने तथा प्रतीक्षा सूची क्लियर करने के उद्देश्य से विभिन्न ट्रेनों में 7626 अतिरिक्त डिब्बे जोड़े गये। साथ ही चालू वर्ष के दौरान 123 ट्रेनों की गति बढ़ाई गई। इसी प्रकार पश्चिम रेलवे ने मुंबई उपनगरीय खंड पर भारत की पहली वातानुकूलित ईएमयू ट्रेन चलाकर एक उत्कृष्ट उपलब्धि भी दर्ज की है। चर्चगेट और बोरीवली/विरार के बीच सोमवार से शुक्रवार तक एसी लोकल ट्रेन की 12 सेवाएँ प्रतिदिन परिचालित होती हैं। हाल ही में पश्चिम रेलवे ने 49 सेवाओं के साथ अंधेरी से गोरेगाँव तक हार्बर लाइन कॉरीडोर को भी विस्तारित किया है। एक-एक कर 209 वीपीएच/वीपीयू रेक तथा 1812 वीवीएच/वीपीयू का भी लदान किया गया। साथ ही एक-एक कर 140 आरएमटी रेक तथा 956 आरएमटी का भी लदान किया गया।

माल परिवहन:

भारतीय रेल पर पहली बार पश्चिम रेलवे ने 7 मार्च, 2018 को सर्वप्रथम डबल स्टैक कंटेनर ट्रेन लॉन्ग हॉल परिचालित कर एक और कीर्तिमान अपने नाम किया है। वर्ष 2017-18 के दौरान पश्चिम रेलवे ने 76.70 मिलियन टन माल का लदान प्राप्त किया है, जो पिछले वर्ष के लदान 69.83 मिलियन टन से9.8 प्रतिशत अधिक तथा रेलवे बोर्ड के 74.00 मिलियन ट्रन के लक्ष्य से 3.6 प्रतिशत अधिक है। पश्चिम रेलवे ने भारतीय रेल पर कुल लदान किये गये पेट्रोलियम उत्पादों के 20 प्रतिशत शेयर का लदान कर भारतीय रेल पर प्रथम स्थान दर्ज किया है। पश्चिम रेलवे ने सीमेंट लदान निष्पादन में भी उल्लेखनीय वृद्धि दर्ज की है। वर्ष 2017-18 में 11.73 मिलियन टन सीमेंट का लदान किया गया, जो वर्ष 2016-17 में लदान किये गये 7.75 मिलियन टन की तुलना में51.4 प्रतिशत अधिक है। पश्चिम रेलवे ने कंटेनर यातायात में 16.55 मिलियन टन के लक्ष्य की तुलना में 5.1 प्रतिशत की वृद्धि के साथ 17.40 मिलियन टन कंटेनर लदान किया है, जो पिछले वर्ष की तुलना में 17.2 प्रतिशत अधिक है। पश्चिम रेलवे ने अन्य सामग्रियों के 8.00 मिलियन टन के लक्ष्य की तुलना में9.88 मिलियन टन का लदान कर 23.5 प्रतिशत की वृद्धि दर्ज की है, जो पिछले वर्ष की तुलना में 16.8 प्रतिशत अधिक है। पश्चिम रेलवे ने वर्ष 2016-17 की तुलना में इस वर्ष 1.14 मिलियन टन जिप्सम का लदान कर 360 प्रतिशत की वृद्धि दर्ज की है। लदान की गई अन्य सामग्रियों में खाद्यान्न, लौह एवं इस्पात, कोयला इत्यादि के लदान में भी उल्लेखनीय वृद्धि हुई है। पश्चिम रेलवे ने ऑटोमोबाइल लदान में भी महत्त्वपूर्ण योगदान देते हुए ऑटोमोबाइल के क्षेत्र में अग्रणी कम्पनी मारुति के साथ हाथ मिलाया है। मारुति ने अपनी कारों को गुजरात के देत्रोज से देश के विभिन्न हिस्सों में पहुँचाने हेतु पश्चिम रेलवे के रेकों की सहायता ली है तथा ऐसा पहला रेक 24 मार्च, 2018 को पहली बार चलाया गया। पश्चिम रेलवे ने अहमदाबाद मंडल के देत्रोज से 25 एनएमजी कोचों द्वारा दक्षिण पश्चिम रेलवे के निडवांडा रेलवे स्टेशन के लिए 125 मारुति सुज़ुकी कारों का परिवहन किया।

प्राइवेट फ्रेट टर्मिनल

पश्चिम रेलवे द्वारा सुखपुर, वीरमगाम और संजान स्टेशनों पर नये प्राइवेट फ्रेट टर्मिनलों की शुरुआत की गई है, जिनके फलस्वरूप कंटेनर यातायात में उल्लेखनीय वृद्धि देखने को मिली है।

IRCON conferred India Pride Award 2017-18 in Miniratna-1 Category

IRCON International Limited, the leading construction PSU has been awarded the prestigious ‘India Pride Award 2017-18’ in Excellence in Miniratna-1 category on 28th March 2018 at New Delhi. The award was received by Sh. S. K. Chaudhary, Chairman & Managing Director, IRCON from Sh. Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh and Sh. Dharmendra Pradhan, Minister for Petroleum & Natural Gas and Minister of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship. The award was instituted by the Dainik Bhaskar Group in 2009 to honor the PSUs in their areas of excellence.

IRCON International Limited, formerly Indian Railway Construction Company Limited (IRCON), is an engineering and construction, specialized in transport infrastructure. The PSU was established in 1976, by the Government of India under The Comp. Act, 1956. IRCON was registered as the ” INDIAN RAILWAY CONSTRUCTION INTERNATIONAL ltda wholly(100%) owned entity of the Ministry of Railways. Its primary charter was the construction of railway projects in India and abroad. IRCON has since diversified into other transport and infrastructure segments and with its expanded scope of operations around the world, the name was changed to Indian Railway International Ltd in October 1995.

The IRCON is well known for undertaking challenging infrastructure projects, especially in difficult terrains in India and abroad. IRCON has completed over 1250 major infrastructure projects in India and over 200 major projects across the globe in more than 31 countries.

The core competence of the company in order of priority are – Railways, Highways and EHT Substation Engineering and Construction. Ircon is a turnkey construction company that is specialized in railways (new railway lines, rehabilitation/conversion of existing lines, station buildings and facilities, bridges, tunnels, signalling and tele-communication, railway electrification, and wet leasing of locomotives), highways, EHV sub-station (engineering, procurement and construction) and metro rail.

Kolkata-Dhaka Container Train service set for First Run today

As Pakistan continues to object to India’s proposed trans-continent container train run from Dhaka to Istanbul citing security reasons, Indian Railways has changed its tracks and is set to run its first such train to Dhaka on Tuesday.

The 30-container train will carry food grains and other materials in its maiden run from Kolkata to the west of the Bangabandhu bridge in Dhaka.  A container train loaded with over 1,100 tonnes of animal feed will leave Calcutta for Bangladesh on Tuesday morning on a trial run.

Passenger and goods trains run between the neighbouring nations but this is the first time a container train from India will go to Bangladesh, senior railway officials said.

Exporters’ forums had long been lobbying for container trains as they could save time and trade costs significantly apart from making trade safer and more organised.

Goods trains carry coal, iron ore, fertiliser, cement and other such freight with a longer transit time. Container trains are better suited for ferrying machine parts, chemicals, automobiles and consumer durables that involve a shorter transit time.

“If successful, the container service would have an impact on bilateral trade because it will drastically reduce the transportation time,” said Syed Abdul Rahman, the senior general manager (east) of Container Corporation of India Ltd (CONCOR), a PSU under the railway ministry. The logistics major will handle the container train movement between the two countries.

“Once established, the movement of container cargo is expected to transform the logistics pattern of movement of goods between the two countries,” Railway Board Member (Traffic) Mohammad Jamshed told on Monday.

Customs clearance will take place in West Bengal’s Ranaghat and Bangladesh’s Banga Bandhu via Darshana/Gede.

Currently, containers have to be sent by sea, through a roundabout route. It is much slower than what the rail route offers.

The thrust for the India-Bangladesh route for container movement comes even as Pakistan has put a spanner in the ambitious plan of a similar container movement from Dhaka to Istanbul through Pakistan and Iran, despite all parties being on board under the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific and the route being ready.

Pakistan has refused to agree to container movement through the Attari border since last year citing security concerns. The Indian Railways has been given to understand that under the “present climate” of bilateral relations between the two countries, the matter would have to wait.

The Dhaka-Istanbul run was seen as India’s answer to China’s container train run to Europe.

According to the deliberations between India and Bangladesh, there is demand for de-oiled cake from Nagpur, sugar from Western Uttar Pradesh, rice and cement from Chhattisgarh, cotton from Ludhiana, clay from Rajasthan and even ready garments from Ahmedabad.

There is a demand for four 50 to 60-container rakes from India to Bangladesh, mostly bound for Chittagong port by rail and then further by sea route.

At present, the Bangabandhu rail bridge is unable to carry the load of these container rakes and there have been talks with Bangladesh for upgrading the service for seamless movement of the shipment till Chittagong port.

In the maiden run, the containers by rail will go till the Bangabandhu bridge and then cross over by road.

The railways has already obtained security clearances from the Foreign Secretary and the Ministry of External Affairs.

“At present, bilateral trade is largely road-based, mostly through the congested Petrapole border. The average time a truck takes to reach Bangladesh is a month,” said Rahman. More than 20 days are spent in customs clearance at the border.

“The train is expected to reach Bangladesh in 24 hours. Even if it takes two days, we will save ample time,” said railway officials.

The train will be flagged off at a CONCOR terminus near Majherhat station around 9.30am. It will travel 300km through Sealdah, Naihati, Ranaghat and Gede in India and Darsana and Ishurdi in Bangladesh before reaching Bangabandhu West station, 117km from Dhaka.

There will be a customs check at Ranaghat, said Rahman.

“The train will return empty, at least initially. But if the trial run is successful, the loss will be offset by the volume of export and reduction in time,” said Rahman.

“If the trial run is successful, we will run two trains a week,” said Rahman.