Dedicated freight corridor looks to ramp-up truck-on-train services

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NEW DELHI : The Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation of India Ltd (DFCCIL) under the Indian Railways is looking to ramp-up its truck-on-train services after successful trial runs with both perishables (like milk) and non-perishables (auto components).

At present, the DFC offers truck-on-train services on both the Eastern and Western Dedicated Freight Corridorss.

According to officials of the Dedicated Freight Corridor (DFC), the truck-on-train service is open for all “feasible” goods and products.  

“So far we have successfully carried out trials for auto-components, while there are regular services for perishables such as milk and cattle feed. Depending on demand, we would like to ramp up services,” a DFCCIL official told.

What is truck-on-train service? 

The truck-on-train service is one where loaded trucks are directly carried to their destinations on railway wagons. This ‘Roll on Roll off’ (Ro-Ro) service that combines road and rail transport, carries trucks on Railway wagons from origin to destination, or on a section of the journey. 

Konkan Railways was the first to offer Ro-Ro services as a dedicated facility In India. Flat BRN wagons (without side walls) with strengthened base, originally used for carrying steel products, were deployed for RoRo operations. 

The Indian Railways officially introduced the service in 2016. Southwestern Railways adopted it on the Bengaluru-Solapur route, but the service was halted after a few trips

.Milk trains

According to the official, the milk and cattle feed service was launched in June 2023. The service began with 25 loaded trucks daily oneither side. The trucks carried milk tankers from Gujarat to the National Capital Region, and cattle feed for farmers and milk unions on the return. 

For 25 trucks, the earnings are estimated at Rs 8,00,000 per trip.

“At present two trains (with milk and cattle feed) run on DFC, with truck-on-train services between New Palanpur-New Rewari and New Rewari-New Palanpur,” the official added. 

It was found that the transit time for Millennium (milk) trains for Banas Dairy via DFC’s New Palanpur station in Gujarat to Palwal in Haryana, covering a distance of approximately 855 km, was reduced to 14.49 hours, from the previous 23.29 hour. 

“This resulted in a near 40 per cent reduction in travel time. Now, the milk trains originate from New Palanpur (WDFC) and run on WDFC up to New Prithla in Haryana. From here, they move on the Indian Railways alignment, before terminating at Hind Terminals Multi Modal Logistics Park in Palwal,” the official added. 

Auto-component transport

According to the official, the truck-on-train service for auto-parts transportation “is open for all routes of DFC.”  

However, at present, the demand does not convert into train load. As of now, auto-ancillaries are transported through truck-on-train trains. 

The truck-on-train service for auto components was initiated with three trucks travelling from Gurgaon and Manesar to Gujarat’s Mehsana, with Maruti auto parts. A distance of 700 km was covered in 12 hrs, which typically takes a day by road. 

The Rewari station has the capacity to send such trains every three hours and around 250 trucks in a day.  And the plan is to expand it to 1,000, another official said. 

“We expect this segment to pick up over the years. The truck operator saves money on multiple fronts, while the initiative reduces carbon emissions,” the official said.

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