Railways rolls out its first steel wagon

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New Delhi, Feb 15 (UNI) Indian Railways today rolled out its first stainless steel wagon for freight trains from the Rail Engine Factory at Jamalpur in Bihar, which is not only fuel efficient but can also load 15 tonnes more of freight as compared to the existing wagons made of iron.

Unveiling the wagon at Jamalpur, Railway Board Member (Mechanical) R K Rao said the Railways would now place orders only for steel wagons because these are stronger and rust-proof .

''These wagons have the capacity to load 15 tonnes more of freight as compared to the existing wagons,'' he said, adding that the Railways had placed orders with the Jamalpur factory to build 300 such wagons.

A Railway Ministry official said because of the heavy weight of the existing iron wagons, their capacity to carry load is greatly affected. ''These also get rusted easily, necessitating their overhauling every five years,'' he pointed out.

The new wagons have been developed by the Lucknow-based Railway's Research Design and Standards Organisation (RDSO). Theese will later will also be built in other factories. Initially, the Jamalpur factory was placed with orders to manufacture 80 such wagons.

A steel wagon will cost Rs 25-26 lakh, which is Rs 5-6 lakh more as compared to the cost of an iron wagon. However, in terms of revenue-earning, the steel coach will have a tremendous edge over the existing wagons.

During the current fiscal, the Railway Board has fixed a target of building over 2000 steel wagons.

The introduction of steel wagons will help Railways streamline its freight business, which continues to be the major source of income for the transport behemoth.

''The Railways has streamlined its freight business by reducing the turnaround time of wagons from seven days to five and increasing their load capacity by 4-8 times through 24-hour facility of loading and unloading operations,'' the official said, adding that introuction of steel wagons would be very helpful for both the Railways and its customers.

UNI/SKS VD BST1639

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