While people remained at home during the lockdown and only essential services were operational, the movement of cargo increased. The operation of freight trains from April to July helped the Bengaluru division of South Western Railways (SWR) generate close to ₹25.91 crore in revenue.

Divisional Railway Manager (DRM) Ashok Kumar Verma told mediapersons on Monday that demand for freight trains increased significantly during the lockdown compared to the same period in the previous year. The cargo that was moved included granite blocks, tractors and cars. The division has handled 15,424 wagons and moved cargo weighing four lakh tonnes.

“The railways ministry is actively pursuing an increase in the goods business, which is also essential for revival of industries. In our division, there was a 40% increase in incoming traffic. In July, our outgoing freight trains increased by 20%. The average speed of trains doubled compared to last year from 23 kmph to 46 kmph. In August too, we expect more business,” said Mr. Verma.

In addition, the division operated time tabled parcel trains, transporting 8,839 tonnes of essential commodities, including fruits, vegetables and medicines, in 157 trains. This helped generate ₹4.94 crore

₹30 crore from Shramik Specials

During the lockdown, SWR ran 233 Shramik Special trains from the division, of which a majority were operated from Bengaluru. More than 3.44 lakh people travelled in these trains to various destinations. The running of these trains helped the division generate revenue of ₹30.09 crore.

SWR distributed 700 Channapatna toys to children who travelled in these trains.

During the lockdown, the division carried out various works, including track renewal for a distance of 33 km, and planted 19,850 saplings. The third coach terminal at Baiyappanahalli will be commissioned by November. Mallasandra and Sampige Road track doubling will be completed in a phased manner by February 2021. The halt station at Kempegowda International Airport (KIA) will be operational in August.

However, around 280 employees contracted COVID-19. They were treated at the divisional railway hospital and the COVID-19 Care Centre run by the Railways.

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