Secunderabad (SC): Hit by weather, dip in coal output, the South Central Railway has registered a downtrend in its freight loading in the first three quarters of the fiscal. Of the other reasons, heavy rains also disrupted train movement and coal production was hit at Singareni Collieries for the last two months.
South Central Railway handled 68.5 million tonnes of freight so far this year, down 1.5 million tonnes, compared to the corresponding period of last fiscal. “There was a downtrend in loadings particularly in last two months, with movement of both coal and cement, which form a major part of our freight basket, being slow. However, SCR is expected to make it up in the next quarter and is optimistic that the zone will barely manage to reach the set target of 110 million tonnes for the year.
Freight earnings were also flat at Rs.4,670 crore so far this year.
Overall, the Railway zone’s gross earnings were up seven per cent over the corresponding period of last fiscal to touch Rs.6,744 crore. This was chiefly possible due to the 24 per cent increase in its passenger earnings at Rs.1,752 crore this year.
GM/SCR said that the focus of Railways is to save on fuel bills to generate additional revenues. “About 70 per cent of our earnings are spent towards staff salary and another 20 per cent on fuel, leaving little room to cut expenses,” he pointed out.
One step in this direction is the electrification of two major sections on the Chennai-Mumbai and Secunderabad-Mumbai routes, which will not only reduce transportation time, but also make the journey seamless. “It will enable seamless running of freight trains on AC locos — we operate around 50 goods trains on the Guntakal route and 25 on Wadi route a day,” the official said.
The recently commissioned major infrastructure development works include a Rs.300 crore new line between Raichur and Gadwal covering 59 km and Rs.200 crore line between Khanapur and Humnabad covering 39 km.