The New Year is pegged to start on a positive note for the Indian Railways, with plans having been firmed up to run India’s first horticulture train in a collaborative arrangement between the Indian Railways, Container Corporation of India (Concor) and the National Horticulture Board (NHB) in second week of January.
Connecting the inland container depot at Bhusawal in Maharashtra to New Azadpur Mandi in Delhi, the 90-container train will bring 1,000 tonnes of bananas from Bhusawal and ferry the same amount of potatoes and apples on its onward journey to Turbe near Mumbai.
The container train has been designed to run at a top speed of 100 kilometre per hour (kmph) as against the maximum speed of 75 kmph of conventional railway wagons and trucks. “Travel time will be reduced approximately by half,” said an official of Concor, a Railways Public Sector Undertaking (PSU).
Fruits or vegetables transported in the ‘insulated and ventilated’ containers will be better preserved as there will be no rotting on account of the accumulation of gases released by such products,” Concor managing director Anil Kumar Gupta told HT.
The designs of the containers that will run on the horticulture train have been certified for quality by the Ludhiana-based Central Institute of Post Harvest Engineering and Technology (Ciphet).
To run the first horticulture rake on the Bhusawal-New Azadpur Mandi (Delhi)-Turbe (Mumbai)-Bhusawal route, the Concor has procured 98 containers from Balmer Lawrie, an Oil PSU. Trial runs on the containers have been conducted by the NHB on road. ‘Results of the data logger have shown better comparative results for fruits carried by the containers on parameters of humidity and temperature,” a NHB official said.