In an effort to target 25 per cent share in automobile freight traffic, the Indian Railways has launched the first time-tabled auto freight train, Auto Express, that will ferry cargo from Gurugram, Haryana to Nidvanda, Karnataka. Suresh Prabhu, Railway Minister, said, “Like our ever-growing population, auto population is also increasing on a faster rate. In fact auto sector is a fastest growing economy. If railways can tap it then it will be major source of revenue.”
Flagged off on Tuesday, Auto Express promises not only timely, but also speedy, delivery of automobiles. Prabhu hopes this endeavour will help increase the automobile industry’s confidence on Indian Railways’ reliability. Currently, almost 2000 cars are transported between Gurgaon and Nidavanda every month. With the launch of the time-tabled auto-car freight train, the volume is expected to go up along with the number of trips, thus resulting in an increase to nearly 6000 cars a month.
Mohd Jamshed, Railway Board Member (Traffic), explained that the enterprise had first launched the time-tabled Cargo Express, and now the Auto Express, to assure faster movement of traffic. He added, “These special trains have wagons to run 100 km per hour. So the travel duration has decreased from 70 hours to 57 hours.”
However, this isn’t the Indian Railways first enterprise to utilise the potential offered by the automobile industry. In April, authorities had announced that India’s first rail auto hub will be established in Walajabad, Kanchipuram. The facility, located in proximity to manufacturers such as Hyundai, Nissan, and Ford, is expected to, or at least hopes to, service over 1 million units of cars every year.