Analysis of wagon utilization and estimating the optimal freight transport effort (loaded and empty wagon movement) for the Indian railways
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Over the past four decades, the freight movement output of the Indian Railways has increased substantially. The tonnes originating increased over fourfold from 73.2 million tonnes in 1950-51 to 302 million tonnes in 1988-89. During the same period, the net tonne kilometers (NTKMs) increased nearly sixfold from 37.6 billion in 1950-51 to 222.4 billion in 1988-89. This phenomenal increase in freight output has been possible primarily through a) better inputs and b) better utilization of the inputs. In this context, it is the purpose of this paper to: a) Identify the key inputs whose growth have contributed to the increase in freight output, with an exphasis on wagons. b) Analyze the determinants of the improved utilization of wagons. In 1987-88, the empty wagon kilometers was 34% of the total wagon kilometers, up from a low of 26.8% in 1955-56. In absolute terms, the empty wagon kilometers in four wheeler units (FWUs) were 6052 million in 1987-88 while it was 1486 million in 1955-56. This (6052 million wagon kilometers) works out to four trains of nearly 67 FWUs traveling empty, the entire Railway system of 62000 kms, every day. The empty wagon lead has been increasing from 220 kms in 1950-51 to 395 kms in 1987-88.
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