Guwahati, Aug 28 (PTI) As part of an initiative to attract more customers for freight transportation, Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) has taken measures to ensure punctual running of goods trains and improving infrastructure at loading-unloading terminals, a senior railway official said on Friday.
NFR General Manager Sanjive Roy said during a virtual press conference that the steps have resulted in increase in freight loading despite economic slowdown and restrictions due to COVID-19 outbreak.
The freight business of the NFR recorded a jump in loading in comparison to the same period last year, Roy said.
Cement loading during April-July has increased by 188 per cent compared to last year, the NFR GM said.
Similarly, loading of petroleum products during April to July increased by 8.2 per cent in comparison to the same period last year.
The Indian Railways is giving a thrust on freight traffic with regular passenger train services remaining suspended due to coronavirus pandemic.
Efforts have been made to increase the speed of freight trains this year as speedier trains would mean quick turn-around and capability to run more trains.
Due to better maintenance of assets and continuous monitoring, average speed of goods trains is now around 49 kmph as compared to 28 kmph in 2019, the NFR chief said.
This has resulted in better turn-around of wagons, he said, mentioning that release of wagons in August so far has improved by 16 per cent compared to last year.
To increase freight traffic, various other steps have been taken by NFR, including free-time relaxation granted to covered wagons and increasing the permissible distance for mini-rakes from 400 km to 1,500 km with a waiver of 5 per cent surcharge.
Steps were also taken to attract smaller than train- load traffic like 'Vyapar-mala trains' (garland trains) introduced to attract less than rake-load traffic and running of time-tabled parcel special trains on several routes.
To a query on the loss incurred by NFR due to non running of passenger trains since start of the pandemic, Roy said, 'though there has been an increase in number of goods trains, overall we have not been able to compensate passenger business.' PTI ESB MM MM