Indian Railways
Railways has made e-auction mandatory for scraps as part of Digital India initiative. In Picture: Representational image of Indian Railways.Creative Commons/rohan scroll

In the run up to the Union budget due next month end, Indian Railways is looking at ways to boost its revenue. The railways is expected to tap the automobile sector, growing e-commerce sector and FMGC sector to help increase its freight revenue.

In a bid to provide connectivity to places it couldn't reach earlier, the railways has explored another option of providing door-to-door transportation of goods via "road railers," capable of movement on road and rail, The Hindu said.

"We will carry out a detailed study and hold discussions with industry players to explore potential areas which the Indian Railways can tap in to boost freight economy," a ministry official told the publication.

Another option the railways can introduce is the Konkan Railways roll on, roll off service. Using this technique, loaded trucks can be directly carried on railway wagons between two stations. At present the railways mainly carry commodities such as coal, iron ore, steel, cement, mineral oil and fertilizers, but are carrying out detailed study of as many as 46 commodities to find out the potential sectors which would help increase its revenue.

"The trial run for the road railers is over and we may soon look to introduce it on the Delhi-Chennai route. We also need to find the appropriate delivery mechanism," the official told The Hindu.

The revenue growth from freight traffic have halved to 6.6% during the April to December 2015 period. Passenger fares for rail travel are perhaps the lowest in the world, while the freight rates are the highest. By 2007-08, there was a sharp decline of 50% in the shares of railways of freight traffic, the publication added.

On the other hand, Suresh Prabhu, the Union Railway Minister, has also announced that in one year at least 100 railway stations across the country will get free Wi-Fi, The Economic Times said.

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