GUWAHATI: A major complaint of trading community in India over the decades has been the absence of a dedicated freight corridor and slow movement of goods trains leading to inordinate delays, something specially detrimental in case of perishable commodities.
With a view to address this issue, the Maligaon-headquartered Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) has introduced special ‘Parcel Cargo Express Trains’ to move commodities in bulk from this region of the country to other States at a much faster speed than conventional goods carriages.
“Each train consisting of 20 High Capacity Parcel Vans (capacity 23 tons each) and 2 SLR coaches ( or luggage vans) would run from Guwahati to Chitpur (Kolkata) and thereafter to Delhi and return by the same route,” NFR Chief Public Relations Officer Sugato Lahiri told.
He said the first Parcel Cargo Express train left Guwahati at 11 pm on November 29 and reached Chitpur at 2 pm on November 30. It subsequently left Chitpur at midnight on the same day and reached Delhi at 2 am on December 4.
“Normally, a goods train from Guwahati to Kolkata takes 3-4 days. Here the Parcel Cargo Express covered the distance at around 36 hours and in the coming months we will further reduce the transportation time,” Lahiri said.
He added, “Being cheaper than transportation by trucks, it will ensure economic and speedier transportation of commodities and will be mainly helpful in case of perishables. It is secure and made for transportation of delicate items.”
The train that left on November 29 was mainly loaded with tea and betel nuts.
“This has been the first occasion when these two commodities have been moved out of the North East in bulk by rail. In this train, we follow the principle of fixed timing and one destination,” Lahiri said.
One such train would run every week during December and the frequency would be increased to three trains per week from January 2014. While Parcel Cargo Express Trains have been used by the Indian Railways in some other zones earlier, this is the first time the service has been introduced in the NFR region.