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India’s first semi-high speed freight train Gati Shakti likely to chug by year end

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India’s first semi-high speed freight train Gati Shakti likely to chug by year end

According to officials, India’s first semi-high speed freight train is expected to begin operations in December. The 16-coach ‘Gati Shakti’ train will be produced at the Integral Coach Factory (ICF) in Chennai and would replicate the concept of Vande Bharat trains.

To hasten the ambitious project, the Railways has constituted a new directorate at the Railway Board with branches in Khurda, Bilaspur, Delhi, and Bengaluru divisions in order to implement the PM Gati Shakti initiative in a targeted manner. “Design work on these trains has already begun.” We’ve also placed a material order… We will be able to produce two of these trains by December of this year,” ICF General Manager A K Agarwal said, adding that an overall target of 25 such trains has been established.

He noted that the final number of trains will be determined by how well the initial ones are welcomed by the market. According to officials, the Railways intends to target the e-commerce and courier parcel segments with these trains. Each train will also feature refrigerated carriages in the back and front to transport perishables such as milk, fish, fruit, and vegetables.

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The coach will provide an electrical connection for these vehicles. The container will be moved using rollers in the remaining coaches. For loading and unloading the containers, each coach will have two broad doors. According to the Indian Brand Equity Foundation, India would be the ninth largest e-commerce market in 2020, with a revenue of USD 50 billion.

“India’s e-commerce market is estimated to reach USD 111 billion by 2024, USD 200 billion by 2026, and USD 350 billion by 2030,” the official said, adding that Indian Railways intends to grab tiny parcel shipments by operating specialised high-speed freight trains.

According to the National Rail Plan, the Indian Railways aims to raise its freight transportation share from 27% to 45% by 2030 through improved infrastructure and commercial development strategies.

Under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ambitious ‘Gati-Shakti Multi Model Cargo Terminal’ programme, the Indian Railways has identified 74 new ‘Gati-Shakti Multi-Modal Cargo Terminal (GCT) locations around the country, with 20 of them in South Indian states.

The programme was implemented in 2021 to encourage investment in the establishment of additional rail cargo terminals.

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