Mr. Arunendra Kumar, Chairman, Railway Board and Mr. R.C. Bhargava, Chairman, Maruti Suzuki India Limited flagged of India’s 1st Flexi Deck Auto-Wagon rake from Gurgaon railway station yesterday. Mr. D.P. Pande, Member (Traffic), Railway Board, Maruti Suzuki’s Managing Director & CEO, Mr. Kenichi Ayukawa and Mr. M.M. Singh, Chief Operating Officer (Production), Maruti Suzuki were present alongwith Indian Railways dignitaries and top management Maruti Suzuki officials.
Designed by Indian Railway’s Research Design and Standards Organization, ‘Flexi deck auto-wagon rake’ has 20% additional capacity (318 cars) as compared to present day twin-decker rakes (265 cars) used for rail transportation. The new rake has a height adjustable and flexible middle-deck to transport cars of varying dimensions and is capable of moving at speeds of upto 95 km per hour as compared to 65 km per hour of existing rakes. At first these will be deployed in the high-volume West and South India destinations.
Flexi deck auto-wagon rake can travel between Gurgaon and Bangalore in around 5 days as compared to 7 days by road transportation. The new transport mode will reduce carbon emission, making it more environment friendly. The 1st Flexi deck auto-wagon rake consisting of 27 wagons left for Nidavanda, Bangalore from Gurgaon carrying a mixed bag of Maruti Suzuki cars including Swift, Dzire, Alto, Wagon R and Omni.
Later cars will be dispatched through railways to Nagpur, Siliguri, Mumbai, Pune, Mundra, Kolkata, and other places. Maruti Suzuki will in time order more rakes to meet growing transportation requirement.
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.”
On the occasion Mr. M.M. Singh, Chief Operating Officer (Production), Maruti Suzuki said, “The induction of ‘flexi deck auto-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.”
Maruti Suzuki will develop infrastructure at off-loading destinations, and has developed a railway station at Nidavanda, near Bangalore that can handle nearly 300 vehicles at present. South India’s volumes will see Bangalore used as a feeder point for Maruti’s dealer network.
Back in 2008 Maruti Suzuki joined hands with Indian railways to develop double-deck container trains, which are used by the automaker to transport export vehicles from its’ manufacturing plants in Haryana to Mundra port. Dispatch through railways increased from 2% in 2007-08 to over 5% in 2012-13.