Convergence on the Konkan Railway

Trucks being transported on a train in a section of the Konkan Railway. - Photo: V. Ganesan  

CHENNAI NOV. 13. It is a unique road-rail synergy. Truck operators, who normally compete with the railways for a share of the goods transport pie, are utilising the tracks in a big way in the Konkan Railway Corporation (KRC). Loaded trucks are thus transported daily on wagons from Kolad in Maharashtra to Verna in Goa. The trucks-on-train system, known as RO-RO (roll-on roll-off), was introduced in 1998 when the Corporation did not have enough freight traffic. The KRC authorities chose this particular stretch as the terrain is hilly and trucks take more than 12 hours to cover it. Now the running time is about eight hours. The two points are close to the national highways.

The trucks are "rolled on" to the wagons, known as flats, at Kolad and at Verna. The drivers travel in the train and take delivery of the trucks at the destinations.

According to D.G. Diwate, Director (Way & Works) of the KRC, one service is being operated daily in both directions and each train carries up to 28 trucks. The response has been overwhelming and now the operators have to book in advance to utilise the facility. Mostly building materials are being transported thus. Truck operators get to optimise fleet utilisation and achieve faster turnaround. The KRC wrote to various railway zones suggesting similar services, but the response has been lukewarm.

In the last financial year, the KRC earned a revenue of Rs. 7.53 crores.