In an effort to increase the productivity of locomotives, and streamline operations, the Indian Railways is all set to use mathematical formulas to calculate the number of locomotives required for each train.
The railways has a fleet of approximately 3,300 electric and diesel locomotive passenger trains across India. Cyclic schedules called locomotive links are used to deploy the locomotives to the respective trains.
Till now, each of its 16 zones, would manually prepare the mentioned locomotive links, to operate the allocated trains, but that is set to change.
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The Ministry of Railways released a statement recently, speaking of its involvement with the evolution and implementation of the system. The software-based decision support system will optimise locomotive deployment to run passenger trains across the nation.
The system will use a mathematical model to work out the minimum number of locomotives needed to run all the passenger trains, as per the timetable, slotting in maintenance and operational activities as well.
The model will benefit the railways, freeing up 30 diesel and 42 electric locomotives, to the tune of Rs 720 crore. These newly-free locomotives will be utilised to run additional freight trains and earn additional revenue.
A pilot optimisation exercise was conducted by the Transformation Cell of Railway Board, with the active participation of all the zonal railways.
Passenger train scheduling is an ever-changing process, as train schedules, new trains, and traction changes due to the ongoing electrification, affect timetabling.
Keeping this in mind, the Railways Ministry, in this year’s budget, had green flagged the implementation of this project to institutionalise this process of locomotive link optimisation using decision support system software, and appointed the Centre for Railway Information Systems (CRIS) to implement it.
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The massive amount of money saved by the national transporter and the new revenue earned, hauling goods, should bolster the Railway’s income.