Despite a ban on iron ore exports from Karnataka, South Western Railway (SWR) has managed to recover its freight volume by largely carrying coal and foodgrains.

According to Mr A.K. Mital, General Manager, South Western Railway, “the railway's has carried 23.8 million tonnes in the first-nine months of this financial year against 25.6 mt carried in the same period last year. As for the originating freight earnings up to December 31, 2011, stood at around Rs 1,658.82 crore, which is 21.59 per cent less than the previous year earnings.”

“The performance in the last nine-months of the current financial year (2011-12), has been satisfactory as for as passenger traffic is concerned. The number of Passengers carried has gone up from 128.96 millions to 139.43 millions, registering an increase of 8.12 per cent. The originating Passenger earnings have also increased by 7.45 per cent from Rs. 783.30 crore to Rs 841.65 crore,” Mr Mital added.

Passenger comforts

South Western Railway (SWR) has achieved punctuality of 94.5 per cent surpassing target of 90 per cent set by Railway Board during the year 2011-12. Also to provide comfortable rail travel to passengers, a number of measures have been taken to improve safety, security, passenger amenities, cleanliness and punctuality.

Mr Mital said IT is being increasingly used to provide passenger amenities by installing audio video enquiry terminals, digital display boards and coach locating guiding system.

“For easy availability of tickets, unreserved ticketing system (UTS) has been extended to cover 231 stations and reserved tickets can now be obtained from 131 locations. In addition to this, 15 Jansadharan Ticket Booking Sevak (JTBS) have been appointed in the current year to issue unreserved tickets to travelling passengers,” he added.

He also said to provide quality food at reasonable prices, ‘Jan Ahar' outlets have been commissioned at Yesvantpur, Bangalore City and Hubli Railway stations.

Besides, six ‘Rail Ahar' outlets have also been commissioned, three at Bangalore City, two at Hubli and one at Bangalore Cantonment stations.

New Trains

Mr Mital informed that all the nine pairs of new trains of SWR as announced in the Railway Budget 2011-12, have already been introduced. Apart from this, increase in frequency of two trains and extension of four trains announced in the Budget, have also been implemented.

He further said that “To clear rush of passengers, 4,303 Special trains were run and 5,402 extra coaches were attached during April, 2011 to December 2011.

Mr Mital further said that a special thrust is being given to improve infrastructure and line capacity on various sections of SWR. During the current financial year, 18 km of new line, 61 km of gauge conversion and 31 km of doubling are targeted for completion.

Work on 18 km of new line between Sakrayapatna and Kanivehalli has been completed. Gauge conversion of Shimoga-Talguppa has been completed with the commissioning of 40 km stretch between Anandapuram-Talguppa section.

The double line of 22 km between Arsikere and Devanur has also been commissioned, he added.

anil.u@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on January 27, 2012)
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