It is raining orders on wagon manufacturers, with the Indian Railways having placed orders worth approximately R4,000 crore for the current fiscal.
In its most ambitious wagons procurement plan of the last five years, the Railways last week released orders for the manufacture of a record number of 22,180 wagons.
Firms contracted include the public-owned Burn Standard Company Ltd and the Braithwaite Company Ltd, besides the Modern Industries, Texmaco Ltd, Titagarh Wagons and the Jessops Ltd.
With an inventory of 216,417 wagons, the Indian Railways runs 6,000 goods train each day. Over the last five years, freight loading figures have continued an annual climb of between 8-9 per cent. At its five in-house wagon factories, the Indian Railways manufactures 1,200 wagons annually.
Wagon making on fast track
At its five in-house wagon factories, Indian Railways makes 1m200 wagons every year.
Railways estimates say that it will need approximately 70,000 more wagons over the next 10 years.
Apparently, this is not enough. Railways estimates are that it will need approximately 70,000 more wagons over the next 10 years.
In her last Budget speech, Railways Minister Mamata Banerjee announced plans to set up two wagon manufacturing units at Haldia and Guwahati.
She is also working on the idea of establishing a third unit in West Bengal in collaboration with the steel ministry.
"Banerjee's initiatives on capacity enhancement in this important area will leave a lasting impact", a senior ministry official said.
Of every rupee earned by the Railways, 64 paisa comes from freight, while 60 paisa is ploughed back for improving passenger amenities.