BENGALURU: In a breakthrough for the Railways on the commercial front, the South Western Railway (SWR) Bengaluru Division has begun transporting cars through its goods trains from Nagasamudram railway station in Andhra Pradesh which falls under its jurisdiction to a destination near New Delhi.
A total of 100 cars were transported on Thursday and another 100 on Friday and thousands more are in the pipeline. The `Saltos’ brand of Sports Utility Vehicles (SUVs) from KIA Motors India were being despatched to Farukh Nagar, which is at a distance of 2,180 kms from the originating station.
Speaking to TNIE, Divisional Railway Manager, Ashok Kumar Verma said, “This is the first time in the SWR that we have got into the business of transporting cars. This marks a major milestone for us. We will earn a revenue of Rs 18.75 lakh per trip, which will definitely boost the non-fare commercial earnings of the Division.”
The partnership with KIA Motors is set to be a long-term one with regular loading of cars slated to take place from the Penukonda railway station (also under Bengaluru Division) from next month, the DRM said.
“KIA’s plant in Penukonda manufactures 3 lakh vehicles per annum. We are looking at three to four trips per week. The car maker has plans to export cars to other countries in future and we will be taking the cars directly to the rail sidings in the vicinity of the Chennai Port to be taken abroad,” he added. Each of the rakes being used in the transportation has 25 coaches and four cars can be carried in each of them. “The rake is of the NMG type whereby a car loaded in the first coach will be automatically sent to the last one,” he explained.
According to Ajay Kumar Singh, General Manager of SWR, “During the first quarter of this financial year, SWR has loaded 13.48 Million Tonnes of Freight which is 24 % more than that of corresponding period of the last year.”
Indian Railways is moving aggressively to promote its non-fare revenue earnings by capitalising on its properties across the country, advertisements at stations and trains, digital walls/screens, on board shopping on Mail/Express trains and food courts among others. It had even invited ideas from citizens to help it improve its non-fare revenues.