21 years after it first pioneered the concept of ‘Roll On-Roll Off’ (RoRo) service in India with service between Kolad and Verna, Konkan Railway Corporation Ltd (KRCL) on Wednesday (19th August 2020) announced to extend this service that presently ends at Surathkal, further down South.
KRCL in collaboration with Southern Railway (SR) recently conducted a successful RoRo trial run for trucks between Surathkal in Karnataka and Kozhikode in Kerala. Responding to demand from SR to extend its RoRo service between Kolad, off Mumbai and Surathkal near Mangaluru to destinations in Kerala, the trial run was held to explore operational feasibility of the service where trucks piggyback on BRN wagons.
The trial commenced at 8.20am at Surathkal with a locomotive, three BRN wagons and a guard van. A metal structure equivalent to the height and width of a truck was mounted on the first BRN wagon. The structure was to ensure safe passage of train through tunnels as well beneath the electrified lines in SR’s jurisdiction, Pratap Singh Shami, divisional railway manager, Palakkad said.
The train passed through Kulashekara tunnel and beneath electrified lines in SR’s limits without any issue and reached Mangaluru Junction at 9.10am and left for Kozhikode at 10.30am after a technical halt. The initial plan was to take the RoRo up to Thiruvananthapuram.
With more than two decades of experience in running this specialised RoRo service, KRCL authorities were upbeat in operating the services and even extending it as demanded by Chennai headquartered Southern Railway.
Incidentally, the service first started between Kolad and Verna, off Madgaon in Goa (417 km) on January 26, 1999. This was extended up to Surathkal near Mangaluru (721 km) from June 15, 2004. KRCL initially started the service with one rake and augmented it to five rakes. Presently, KRCL operates daily services based on demand and transports up to 50 trucks at a time under this arrangement which is a win-win for both Railways and the truck operators.