BENGALURU: Nearly five months after the trial runs were approved by the Railway Board, the first Roll On-Roll Off (RO-RO) service between Nelamangala in Bengaluru and Bale in Solapur district will make its debut this Sunday (August 30).
This will be first such service in South Western Railway (SWR) and Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa and MoS Railways Suresh C Angadi will launch the train remotely from their respective locations. "A total of 1260 tonnes, comprising agricultural, chemical and industrial items have been loaded in its maiden run," Senior Divisional Commercial Manager (Bengaluru Division), AN Krishna Reddy told The New Indian Express.
Okayed by the Board on April 2, Angadi was keen on launching it at the earliest to facilitate transport of essentials in bulk between States in the midst of the raging pandemic. However, the absence of a ramp to take the trucks onboard the train and a good connecting road at Solapur station delayed the launch of the service.
The RO-RO train has a total of 43 open wagons and it can carry 43 or more trucks depending on the size of the vehicle. It will traverse 682 kms between Nelamangala and Bale and covering three railway zones -
Central Railway, South Central Railway and the SWR, said another railway official.
Each round trip will take six days and will pass via Wadi and Dharmavaram. Reddy said, "Our freight charges are Rs 2700 per tonne for each round trip. A total of 30 tonnes is permitted per truck." Jitendra Realty and Infrastructure Private Limited, which built the ramp and the road in the midst of the Corona pandemic, is the freight aggregator for the service.
Yogendra Sharma, who prepared the Detailed Project Report, had told TNIE earlier, "Reduction of road traffic and reduction in fuel consumption are major benefits. Since the train carries the truck, it is akin to door-to-door delivery of goods," he said.
A driver and another individual can accompany the truck and they have to purchase second class tickets for the journey. The Konkan Railway Corporation Limited (KRCL) has been running this Ro-Ro service between Suratkal and Kolad (143 km from Mumbai) for a few years.