To increase its share of freight from the automobile sector, the Railways has designed wagons that can carry not just cars, but also trucks and tractors, a senior official of the national transporter said on Wednesday.
The detailed drawing of the “higher automobile carrier wagons” is in the final stages, Member, Rolling Stock, Railway Board, Rajesh Agarwal, said at a briefing.
The existing wagons, which have two decks, have a limitation due to overall height. Cars with a height of above 1,500 mm cannot be loaded on both decks of the current wagons. That is, after loading bigger SUV or MUV cars in the lower deck only small cars can be loaded in the upper deck, he said.
The Railways hopes that the move will increase its share of automobile freight from the present two per cent to eight to 10 per cent by the end of the next fiscal.
“We want to ensure that all kinds of vehicles can be loaded onto the wagons. Trucks, tractors and even two wheelers which we have never carried earlier. We are speaking to the auto industry and also manufacturers. The sector has huge potential and designs have been rolled out,” Agarwal said.
There is an increase in demand of customers to load more sports utility vehicles (SUVs) and multi-utility vehicles (MUVs). During interactions, they have asked for an increase in the height of wagons to permit loading of these types of cars on both the decks, he said.
“The RDSO (Research Design and Standards Organisation) has accordingly developed a concept of higher automobile carrier wagons which will be 4,877 mm in height which is about 450 mm higher than the existing wagon of 4305 mm height.
“The detailed drawing of this wagon is in the final stages and consultation with industry stakeholders is being done through informal meeting held regularly at the Railway Board and the RDSO,” Agarwal said.
The Railways has introduced a slew of measures to increase its freight revenue. It recently deferred its busy season surcharge of 15% on freight and hiked the number of rakes to be provided for the auto sector. There was a further waiver of five per cent given on loading mini rakes or smaller parcel size.
For the auto sector, the Railways is offering more rakes for the transportation of automobiles. Earlier, it used to provide eight auto rakes which has now been hiked to 26 and the national transporter has plans to provide as many as 50 rakes to the sector to transport their goods by this year end.
In 2018-19, the Railways transported 1,223 million tonnes of freight, earning revenues of about ₹1.25 lakh crore. The national transporter expects to surpass both the volume and revenues numbers this year.