Saturday, October 26, 2013

East Coast Railway – surging to the TOP Innovations, Investment through PPP mode & Extensive use of Advanced Signalling System
  • On the freight front, East Coast Railway catapulted itself from 3rd position in Indian Railways in the year 2011-12 to emerge as the no.1 freight-loading railway in the current year. This was made possible due to exponential growth in freight loading on the mega coalfields of Talcher, the fast growing Paradeep, Dhamra and Gangavaram Ports. For example, in the current year, the growth in loading from the above locations are ranging somewhere between 25 to 50 per cent. Despite acute capacity constraints, this was made possible due to better operating practices like Engine-on-Load systems at major loading points optimizing terminal capacity utilization and setting up of Area Control offices at Talcher and Paradeep for better coordination between the railways and the coal companies/ports respectively. It was essential to create additional capacity on the Talcher-Paradeep section for which participation from the stakeholders namely, Mahanadi Coalfields Limited (MCL) and Paradeep Port Trust (PPT) by way of investment for augmentation of terminal and sectional capacity was sought.
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  • Apart from the terminal capacity augmentation of their own sidings for which MCL funded about Rs.70 crores and PPT funded about Rs.60 crores, for sectional capacity augmentation to facilitate evacuation of the incremental traffic, MCL paid Rs.64 crores for automatic signaling system between Talcher and Paradeep. In the interim phase, to cater to evacuation of the fast growing incremental traffic from Talcher, six nos. of Intermediate Block Signals (IBS) were commissioned in Talcher - Rajathgarh section and electronic interlocking system of signaling was introduced at Talcher station besides auto signaling between Talcher Station and the sidings. Apart from these two locations, advanced signaling system (RRI) is also under commission at Kirandul and Bacheli as a deposit work funded by National Mineral Development Corporation Limited (NMDC) so as to establish a smoother uniflow system of operation to augment loading of high quality iron ore from Bailadilla mines of Chattisgarh to various consumers.
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  • Apart from the projects executed on the fast track by the Railway to create additional capacity in quick time as mentioned above, this Railway also approached the major stakeholders to carry out system improvement and terminal capacity enhancement works to augment loading from their terminals. The major stakeholders realized quickly that it is only through the above and by investing in through put enhancement work through deposit works with the railway, they can maximize loading and increase evacuation of incremental traffic. Thus, the success of story of ECoR is predominantly based on the active participation of our major stakeholders like MCL, PPT, NMDC and APGENCO et al. As a result, this railway has been able to mobilize investment of about Rs.1200 crores, bulk of which was from NMDC (Rs.850 crores), MCL (Rs.150 crores), PPT (Rs.60 crores). NMDC is funding of Rs.826 crores for construction of a second line from Kirandul to Jagadalpur under the PPP mode for facilitating iron ore movement to the proposed steel plant at Jagdalpur under a revenue sharing arrangement. Similarly, APGENCO has agreed in principle to invest Rs.80 crores with Railway as a deposit work for commissioning of Automatic Signalling System between Khurda to Vijayawada to facilitate incremental loading and evacuation of the coal traffic from Talcher to the power plants in Andhra Pradesh. Power Plants like GMR, LANCO and NSL have agreed for investment under the “participative models” of IR for construction of additional lines from Talcher for evacuation of coal to the power plants located in Meramandali and Angul area.
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  • In order to make good the shortfall in special purpose wagons, East Cost Railway has attracted substantial investment for Aluminium giants like, NALCO, Vedanta Aluminium and Aditya Aluminium under the “Wagon Investment Scheme” for movement of Alumina, Caustic Soda and Furnace Oil etc. from the Alumina Refineries and Ports to their smelter plants in Odisha. A number of Container Train Operators (CTO) have also invested in procurement of container flats to facilitate containerized movement of domestic and exin traffic to and from a host of aluminium and steel industries to the ports and the consuming destinations. There are also a large fleet of wagons procured by iron ore miners/exports plying on East Coast Railway under the Wagon Investment Scheme.
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  • With a view to overcoming the inadequacy of railway terminals, ECoR is pushing establishment of Private Freight Terminals (PFT) through the PPP mode in a big way. Under this scheme private investors can develop freight terminals to handle multi-party cargo and provide value added services like warehousing, road transportation, cargo consolidation etc. Existing railway sidings of the end users can also be converted to PFT to facilitate handling of traffic of other rail users. The first such PFT has been set up at Lapanga near Sambalpur and few more are on the offing.
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  • All the above measures have contributed in the least possible time to increase the terminal and sectional capacity on East Coast Railway to sustain a high level of loading and to maintain the numero uno position in freight loading among the comity of 16 zonal railways of IR.

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