Doubled speed of cargo trains during lockdown, increased freight loading: Railways

The ministry of railways on Tuesday said it surpassed freight traffic on July 27 as compared with the corresponding period last year and doubled the speed of its freight trains "in spite of Covid 19 related challenges." The national transporter increased the average speed of its freight trains to 46.16 kmph which is more than double as compared to its speed of 22.52 kmph last year. The suspension of passenger trains since March 22 has led to decongestion of a bulk of the national transporter's network.

At present only 230 special passengers are plying while cargo and parcel trains have been allowed to operate since the lockdown began. "In the month of July the average speed of freight trains is 45.03 kmph which is around double as compared to last year for the same month (23.22 kmph). West Central Railway with the average speed of 54.23 kmph, Northeast Frontier Railway with the speed of 51 kmph, East Central Railway 50.24 kmph, East Coast Railway 41.78 kmph, South East Central Railway 42.83 kmph, South Eastern Railway 43.24 kmph and Western Railway with the speed of 44.4 kmph are the leading Railway Zones in the average speed of freight train in Indian Railways," the ministry said.

It also marginally inched higher in its freight loading on July 27 as compared with the same period last year at 3.13 million tonnes with an increase of 0.3%. However, the cumulative, overall loading of freight trains remains 18.18% less than last year. On July 27, the Railways loaded a total 1,039 rakes with freight including 76 rakes of foodgrain, 67 rakes of fertilizer, 49 rakes of steel, 113 rakes of cement, 113 rakes of iron ore and 363 rakes of coal.

"Railways has achieved record loading of foodgrains this fiscal which is 80%more than last year, and has also introduced time tabled parcel services - 4,541 services and transported 2.41 lakh tonnes cargo generating a revenue of Rs 86.88 crore," said railway board chairman VK Yadav said at a press conference on Tuesday. Food grain distributions during the lockdown had more than doubled with the Railways transporting 5.2 million tonnes of foodgrains in April after the country went under a lockdown on March 25 to curb the spread of the coronavirus disease, Hindustan Times had reported on April 27. Railways has set an ambitious target of achieving freight loading 50% more loading in the current financial year as compared with FY 2019-2020, Yadav said.

"These improvements in freight movements will be institutionalized and incorporated in the upcoming zero based time table.

These steps will lead to significantly higher freight traffic and earnings for Railways and cost competitive logistics for the entire country,? he added.

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