NEW DELHI: The Indian Railways today opened the first auto hub at Walajabad near Chennai to attract transportation of cars from roads to rail. The country’s first rail auto hub was announced in the rail budget by railway minister Suresh Prabhu.
The Walajabad station of the Chennai division of Southern Railway is being developed as the first common user Auto Hub of the Indian Railways. The station is located near the major auto units of Oragadam, Sriperumbudur and Singaperumal Kovil areas which are having the manufacturing facilities of top auto companies Nissan, Hyundai, Ford and Daimler Chrysler.
"Currently two-thirds of our revenue comes from freight and 85 per cent of the bulk traffic is from a few select commodities only. This has been a traditional way for railways," Prabhu said here after launching the auto hub at Chennai through a video conference.
The minister said that railways has to devise a strategy for how to get auto transportation to railways which was mostly on roads till now. Rail plan to increase its freight basket from 10 commodities at present to over 40 to increase its market share.
Spread over 5000 sq.meters, this hub will have loading capacity of 300 four wheelers and would cater to over 1 million units of 4-wheelers being produced every year in this area. It will also act as an ideal distribution centre for the inward traffic of TATA, Honda converging for distribution into Tamil Nadu and adjoining states, including Pondicherry.
While hinterland traffic is the prime segment, Indian Railway shall be able to capture export traffic which will move to ports of Chennai and Ennore. The hub has seamless road connectivity of 4/6 lanes to the production and consumption centres.
Presently, 4 percent automobile traffic are transported through Indian Railway and approximately Rs100 crore revenue has been collected during financial year 2015-16 so far through this traffic. Target is to increase the share of Railways to around 20 percent by 2026.