Many companies rely on the Indian Railways to transport their precious cargo. Well, they’re all in for a surprise, as the Railways is technologically upgrading its cargo-transportation capabilities. The Southern Railway will soon launch a roadrailer train, which will transport goods to the doorsteps of companies, passing through rail tracks and roads.
The project has finally commenced, after being kick-started in 2015 and running into several delays. In August 2017, the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways informed the Railway Board that the Central Motor Vehicles Rules (1989) had been amended, so all trailers and semi-trailer vehicles can get registered independently.
This is India’s first bi-model goods vehicle and has received approval to be registered with the state transport department, from the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways.
Here’s how it works.
Each roadrailer unit has 8 lorry wheels, coupled together using adopter bogies. Each coupling bogie also has 4 rail wheels. Each wagon has a carrying capacity of around 30 tons, and around 50 can be operated for a trip.
Once they reach the goods terminal, the roadrailer units will be de-coupled from the rail adopter bogies and will be fitted with a prime mover so they can move on to their destination. The road-railer will replace around 50-55 on-road trucks, thereby reducing costs like goods loading and unloading. Besides, safety will be more in case of the road-railers.
For freight transportation charges, a trip from Melpakkam to Palwal—a distance of 2,200 sq km—will cost Rs 22 lakh. The transport vehicle can carry automobiles, electronics, FMCG products, retail goods, furniture, hardware and parcels. The successful trial run was conducted between Jolarpet and Arakkonam.
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Technically, the roadrailer is a semi-trailer on the road and a wagon on the train. A dual-purpose vehicle, it will free up vital highway space, by using the rail network for transport of heavy goods.
(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)