Double-decker container train chugs off today

New Delhi, March 22 | Updated: Mar 23 2006, 06:28am hrs
Railway minister Lalu Prasad Yadav on Thursday will flag off the sub-continents first double-stack container train from Kanakpur Inland Container Depot in Rajasthan.

The train will go up to Pipavav Port via Ajmer, Marwar, Phalna, Abu Road and Palanpur. This move is expected to considerably scale down the rush outside the inland container depots for booking their containers, as the train would carry double the quantity of freight it currently ferries. The double-stack train has the capacity of carrying 180 TEU containers as against the 90 TEU containers carried on single- stack trains.

Though the Delhi-Jaipur route is a significant one for container traffic, the ministry chose the Kanakpura-Pipavava route, as the rail overbridges on this route have been modified to allow passage of double- stack container train. The rail overbridges on Delhi-Jaipur route are being modified too.

Ministry officials said that once this train starts plying smoothly, one double-stack train would be introduced in all 16 railway zones. In fact, the orders for such trains have been placed and are being manufactured at Rail Coach Factory (Kapurthala) and in Chennai.

Railway ministry has been focussing on volumes since the last couple of fiscals and has also been advocating a professional approach towards freight loading. This move is seen as a step towards this.

In Full Steam

Double-stack train has capacity of carrying 180 TEU containers
One double-stack train would be introduced in all 16 railway zones
This move is seen as a part of focus on volumes

In fact, the dedicated rail freight corridor project, which is currently delayed, was to witness the plying of such trains on the commodity specific routes, which are to come up under it. However, the ministry has gone ahead and introduced the double-stack container trains. This, according to sources, hints at the importance the ministry gives to freight traffic which is a significant revenue generation source for it.

It is being speculated that during the flagging off function on Thursday, Mr Yadav may also announce some concessions in freight traffic and loading. Last year, the ministry introduced a slew of concessions for commercial traffic movement.

The double stack container train, apart from other advantages, would be able to carry a payload of 2,500 tonne against 1,500 tonne in a single-track train. Introduction of more such trains would lead to full utilisation of the carrying capacity of railways locomotives. Also it would lead to reduction in fuel consumption and result in reduction in the infrastructural requirement of the railway system and also at the terminals.

Also this would encourage direct service of bigger ships in Indian ports, and in the long- run, the manpower requirement will also come down with an increase in the number of double stack container trains.