Indices-Freight Operation:

The important Operating Statistics, most of which are indices of Operating efficiency, have been discussed in detail later in this Manual (Operating Statistics). Some Indices of Freight Operations and efficiency are highlighted below:

Wagon Holding:

For a given amount of originating loading and receipts of loaded wagons from other Railways and making an allowance for a percentage of stock out of commission for repairs, etc., there is an optimum number of wagons that a Railway, and separately its constituent divisions, should hold to maintain the fluidity of transport system.

More wagons than the optimum number might lead to increase in the repairs and maintenance percentage, heavier detentions to wagons and trains and transport bottlenecks, i.e. more congestion in sidings, yards, and sections without a proportionate increase in the tonnes lifted, or in the efficiency of operations. Similarly, excessive shortage of Wagons may lead to loss of traffic.

Proper estimation and projection of requirement, proper planning and working at various stages of freight operations are necessary for keeping wagon holding low. “Ineffective Stock” percentage should also be kept the minimum.

Interchange Balance:

Maintenance of the interchange target is an indication of a Railway’s overall operating performance and its efforts to meet inter railway obligations, hence interchange balance should not be very high, even when maximum trains are interchanged. However, attempts should be made to see that on busy sections, the interchange is not only confined to few hours of the day but uniformly distributed.

A load of trains:

A train is a unit of transport. Depending upon the load, suitable loco is provided for its haulage. In order to get the optimum use of motive power and to increase the capacity utilization and throughput, each Locomotive is given a load approximately to the maximum hauling capacity, unless operating necessity requires utilization of a loco for the lesser load. The stations should also ensure that wagons are loaded to the carrying capacity or the minimum weight prescribed for some commodities.

Loading and Unloading:

To optimize the loading is one of the most important items in freight operations because it is through loading that Railway earns the maximum revenue. Similarly, unloading is necessary so that wagon becomes available for next loading. Reducing the time taken for loading/unloading by technology up gradation and other strategies in coordination with the customers have to endeavor.

Empty Running:

Ideally, it is a waste of transport capacity to run a wagon empty or with the light load, but much of empty running is inescapable on account of the unbalanced nature and quantity of outward and inward traffic at terminals and necessity of supplying empty wagons. Certain special type of wagons for the POL, Steel, Coal, Natural Gas, Ammonia, LPG etc. have to be generally run empty to the loading points. Operating skill lies in avoiding or reducing the extent of empty haulage and cross movements of the similar type of empty stock.

Despatch in Block Rakes:

Despatching of wagons in small numbers always means transit delay while a block load can go direct to the farthest destination skipping many yards, thereby eliminating detention that the wagons might have suffered in the intermediate yards. Piecemeal wagons passing through a number of marshaling yards, where they have to be combined with other wagons to form train loads, cause the huge amount of work for the staff and result in loss of efficiency, avoidable delay, anxiety, and uncertainty regarding their arrival at destination.

Unit train movement, i.e. a trainload consigned by the single consignee to the single consignor, is ideal. Consignees can also be motivated to club their Indents to get trainload and block rakes. Also, two points loading on same engine run can improve wagon usage. Close circuit rake movement can also be resorted to between the selected pair of stations or rakes. Maintaining the purity of freight rakes has also to be ensured.

Long Distance Trains:

It is an age-old principle of operations that full train loads should be formed at the earliest point for the longest possible distance. Long distance trains should have least stoppages like long-distance passenger trains. Trains can also be run as “crack trains” or Link Train.

A crack train/Link Train is a train when the same crew (and engine if possible) instead of “Signing off” at the intermediate crew changing point works a train to the farther junction. Thus, a train running from Ujjain to Godhra or vice versa without Crew/Guard change at Ratlam can be run as X ‘Crack’. The Crew can also be utilized on ‘Crack’ basis when the same Crew performs a round trip without “Signing off” at the outstation and is promptly provided a load so that Crew returns to its Head Quarters within normal duty hours.

Wagon Turn Round:

The interval between two successive loadings calculated from the time a wagon is placed for loading until the time it again becomes available for reloading is the actual turn round. As the calculations for individual wagons in the manner stated above are not practicable, the following statistical formula is generally used:

Wagon Turn Round (T) = S/ (L+R)

Where ‘S’ stand for the effective daily wagon holding or midnight wagon balance of a day (excluding sick, POH wagons in or waiting for shops, like departmental wagons, wagons lent for departmental use, and the wagons used for coaching traffic). ‘L’ stands for the total number of wagons loaded on the Division/Railways plus the wagons loaded at Transshipment Point, ‘R’ stands for the total number of loaded wagons received from other Railway/Divisions.

Thus, for example, if a Division loads 350 Wagons on BG (including 50 BG Wagons loaded through transshipment of MG Wagons), 150 inward loaded wagons are received from other Divisions and its effective wagon holding at the end of the day (midnight) is 2250 wagons, the Divisional Wagon turn round will be 4.5 days.

2250 / (350+150) = 2250  /  500 = 4.5 days WTR (Wagon Turn Round)

Detention of Trains and Wagons:

Detention to Trains:

  • A check on the detention to trains
  • outside signals or at stations adjacent to Goods Terminals,
  • In shunting operations at roadside stations
  • enroute detentions for various reasons should be exercised regularly.
Detention to Wagons:

Close watch should be kept on the areas, e.g. Marshalling Yards, Goods Terminals, and Stabling Points etc., where wagons are likely to suffer avoidable detention during various phases. Although this is watched through periodical data, special attention should be paid to pockets, where piecemeal Wagons suffer prolonged detention and often remain out of sight.