To optimise its freight loading capacity and cut costs, Indian Railways has started modifying the existing BOXN open wagons to newly designed 25-tonne axle load wagons with 9% extra carrying capacity. With 5,000 such modified wagons to be running by February next year, the transporter will get an additional freight revenue of over Rs 300 crore for the next fiscal without having to spend anything extra on fuel and other costs.
The railways will float tenders for additional 15,000 wagons in another two weeks and of these, 3,000 will be for the new BOXN’s wagons, which will be at par with the 25-tonne axle load wagons. Once these wagon fleets are also operational (possibly, by the end of the next fiscal), the transporter will be able to enhance its revenue significantly, official sources told FE.
Railways has a variety of wagons in use, including 14,700 BOBR wagons and 10,500 BOXN wagons, together forming a large chunk of its rake capacity. The prototype for these higher-load-carrying BOXN’s wagons has already been developed by Braithwaite & Co, an Indian Railway undertaking, and the bidders will have to meet its specifications.
With the introduction of the new BOXN’s wagons with 25 tonne axle load, one wagon will be able to accommodate 100 tonnes of iron ore or thermal coal, as against 91.6 tonnes now. With a full rake consisting of 58 wagons, one rake will will be able to carry 5,800 tonnes of goods additionally.
“The newly designed wagons will really boost the carrying capacity of freight trains and will have a pay-to-tare ratio of 4:1,” a railway official said.
The ratio is the total payload divided by the dead weight of a rolling stock a direct indication of the carrying capacity efficiency of a wagon.
When Lalu Prasad was the railway minister, the railways used to get extra freight revenue by overloading rakes and adding more coaches to passenger trains. The new plan, in contrast, is to enhance the carrying capacity of rakes by upgrading the wagons, sources said.
The transporter earlier this year conducted a pilot study for the 25 tonne axle load wagon with coal and was able to achieve the speed of 70 kmph. Railway officials state that they are in the process to send the detailed report for the 25 tonne axle load wagons to the Commissioner of Railway Safety for permission to undertake track trials on the transporters network.
Indian Railways is aiming at procuring 19,000 wagons in the next fiscal subject to freight loading growing by 6%. It plans to procure 14,350 wagons by the end of this financial year.
Average lead which is the average distance a freight train travels from the source to its destination, for coal used in thermal plants is 565 Kms at the rate of Rs 1.43 per tonne Km. With the new wagons the national transporter will earn an addition of Rs 3.93 lakh per rake for transportation of thermal coal. While an average lead for iron ore for steel plants is 246 Km at the rate of Rs 1.94 per tonne Km, with the enhanced carrying capacity wagons Indian Railways will earn an addition of Rs 2.32 lakh per rake for transportation of iron ore for domestic use.