Roll-on-Roll-off (RO-RO) Service goes off track due to technical hurdles

NEW DELHI: Roll-on-Roll-off (RO-RO) service was initially introduced on Konkan Railway during the year 1999. Since then, the service is running on Konkan Railway on Diesel route. On electrified routes, there are operational constraints for running of Ro-Ro service due to Over Head Equipment (OHE). However, during the recent past, trial run of Roll-on-Roll-off (Ro-Ro) Service has been carried out on following routes:-

(i) Across the Ganga River in Bihar between Bihta and Turki over East Central Railway;
(ii) Between Bhanga and Churaibari in Northeast Frontier Railway for carriage of loaded/empty petrol tankers;
(iii) Between Nagothane and Boisar;
(iv) Between Garhi Harsaru to Muradnagar.

Roll-on-Roll-off (Ro-Ro) Service can be tried out on other routes also subject to demand and operational feasibility. This Press Release is based on the information given by the Minister of State for Railways Shri Rajen Gohain in a written reply to a question in Rajya Sabha on 24.03.2017 (Friday).

The pilot project was launched by Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu on March 2. About 30 loaded trucks were transported on the flat wagons from Garhi Harsuru station in Gurugram to Muradnagar in Uttar Pradesh.

Railways had pressed four Ro-Ro trains into service to cater to 500-odd trucks every day. It had plans to increase the capacity to 40 trains per day. Ro-Ro service aims to reduce carbon emission and congestion on the roads of the National Capital Region (NCR) as about 66,000 diesel-guzzling trucks pass through Delhi and its adjoining areas in a day.

According to railways, there are about 20,000 trucks which are not meant for the NCR, but enter the region to travel further. Of the total 127 entry/exit points to Delhi, nine major points criss-crossing the region account for 75 per cent of the commercial light and heavy duty trucks.

Railway ministry officials said eight more routes will be identified soon.

According to a study conducted by Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), commercial vehicles entering Delhi spew close to 30 per cent of the total particulate load and 22 per cent of nitrogen oxide load from the transport sector.

RO-RO service goes off track due to technical hurdles

However, in less than a month of its launch, railways’ much-hyped Ro-Ro (Roll-on Roll-off) service goes off track owing to technical hurdles. The service was rolled out with great fanfare as a step towards reducing Delhi’s air pollution and unclogging city roads.

The major reason that brought the RO-RO service to a halt was the low height of overhead electrification in Delhi region due to which bigger trucks could not be loaded on railway wagons.

Also, the railways has not received any booking from smaller goods vehicles since March 9.

It was estimated that the service would take off nearly 20,000 trucks from Delhi roads that are not destined for the city. The Delhi division has sent a detailed report to the railway ministry that the service could not be continued due to technical reasons.

Lack of ground work before launch led to its failure

Official sources said the service was started in haste as no ground work was done before the launch. The height of overhead electric wires in Delhi region has been kept low due to presence of several FoBs (foot over bridges) and RUBs (road under bridges). Due to this, only smaller vehicles with height of 3.2 metre can be loaded on open rail wagons for transportation.

“There is no appropriate platform to load bigger trucks on wagons. Further if they are loaded, there is a fear of touching the 25KW overhead wires,” said a senior railway official.

“While there are technical difficulties in transporting heavy goods vehicles, there is no demand from smaller vehicles for the railway service,” he added.

Delhi’s Divisional Railway Manager (DRM) Arun Arora said a detailed report has been sent to the railway board. “The service has been temporarily stopped as there was no booking over the last few days. Low height of overhead electric wires restricts the transportation of big trucks on rail wagons.

We have sent a detailed report to the railway ministry apprising it of the technical hurdles. The service will be restarted after modifications,” Arora told.

End to Train Telemetry (EoTT) Device in Trains

The Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation of India Ltd. (DFCCIL) is an infrastructure provider. End to Train Telemetry (EoTT) device is an alternative of running trains without guard on an exclusive freight corridor.

(b): Dedicated Freight Corridor (DFC) has been envisaged to be free from level crossings gates, to help enhance the operational efficiency and safety standards. However elimination of level crossings is feasible only in a phased manner.

(c): The commissioning of Western & Eastern DFCs (excluding few sections) is targeted in phases by 2019/2020. The End to Train Telemetry (EoTT) device does not require services of guards on DFC network.

This Press Release is based on the information given by the Minister of State for Railways Shri Rajen Gohain in a written reply to a question in Rajya Sabha on 24.03.2017 (Friday).