Flexi deck Auto-Wagon - An initiative by Maruti Suzuki and Indian Railways
Maruti Suzuki India Limited (MSIL) in a joint effort with Indian Railways has flagged off India's first Flexi Deck Auto-Wagon rake, which sets a new benchmark in transportation of new cars through railways. It is estimated that a reduction of 1/3rd NOX (Oxides of Nitrogen, an atmospheric pollutant) can be achieved by using advanced system of Flexi Deck Auto-Wagon rake.
In United States, a total of 70% cars are transported from the tracks, while in our country the figure is only 5%, resulting in the longer waiting periods for the customers. The 'Flexi deck auto-wagon rake' provides advantages of higher capacity, flexibility, faster speed and environment friendliness through rail transportation of car. The 1st Flexi deck auto-wagon rake consisting of 27 wagons chugged off to Nidavanda, Bangalore from Gurgaon carrying a mixed load of Maruti Suzuki cars including Swift, Dzire, Alto, Wagon R and Omni. Maruti Suzuki accounts for the 40% of the cars running on Indian roads and thus the automaker tries hard to dispatch the vehicles as soon as they are rolled out from the production facility.
Moreover, in the year 2008 the company got associated with Indian Railways for development of double deck auto-wagons with container train operators for carrying cars through the container trains. Indian railway has two trains to carry 45 double decker wagons especially for the Maruti Suzuki cars. Looking at the numbers, the company has dispatched a total of 70,000 units in double decker railway rakes on Gurgaon to Kochi, Gurgaon to Bangalore and Gurgaon to Mundra routes. With this tie up, the transportation becomes more efficient and environment friendly.
Looking back, India's largest car manufacturer, Maruti Suzuki has been using the effective rail mode for transporting cars for over two decades, a key reason behind the minimum waiting period in the company's model lineup. The company has more than 1440 nationwide service network across 840 cities. One can track company's showroom/dealer from the farthest point in north Leh, Ladakh to the extreme south point in Nagercoil, Tamil Nadu and the fast delivery to its customers is the courtesy of company's transportation facility that uses the reliable railway.
On the occasion of the flag off, Mr. Kenichi Ayukawa, Managing Director and CEO, Maruti Suzuki said, “We are delighted to have initiated this contemporary mode of transport to the Indian automobile industry. Indian Railways deserves all the credit for their foresight and tremendous enthusiasm and co-operation to make this initiative move from a concept to reality within a short span of around 36 months.”
To streamline the railways transportation, Maruti Suzuki will develop infrastructure at the off-loading destinations. Initially, Maruti Suzuki has developed a railway station at Nidavanda, near Bangalore. The Nidavanda station has a capacity to handle nearly 300 vehicles presently. As Maruti Suzuki has big volumes for South India destinations, Bangalore will be used as a feeder point for dealer network. With the ‘Flexi deck auto-wagon rake’ in place the Indian Railways and Maruti Suzuki will jointly relieve the road infrastructure of the excessive load and bring modern, high capacity vehicle transportation to the country’s logistics map.
Mr. M.M. Singh, Chief Operating Officer (Production), Maruti Suzuki said, “The induction of ‘flexi deckauto-wagon rake’ will start a new chapter in automotive logistics in the country. Trains are one of the fastest, safest and eco-friendly modes of transportation. With these newly designed rakes we have been able to increase the load carrying capacity along with a high flexibility to cater to a variety of vehicle dimensions. We are happy that Indian Railways supported the initiative of Maruti Suzuki to enhance the country’s transportation infrastructure.”
By using advanced features such as height adjustable to the middle-deck allows the wagon to carry 318 Alto equivalent compact cars as against 265 cars earlier with double decker using a total of 45 wagons. The automaker has also made a storage capacity of nearly 300 units near Bangalore railway station.
The company working closely with Research Design and Standards Organization, RDSO developed a new design Auto-wagon (BCACBM). The 3 prototypes were made by Titagarh Wagon Ltd. The maximum speed of these auto rakes, as notified by RDSO, is 95 kms/hr in loaded condition and 100 kms/hr when empty, highest for a goods carrying train. In one run the train can carry 27 wagon and thereby making a total length of 636 meters.