Indian Railways is pulling out all stops in its effort to ensure timely and efficient transportation of essential goods, minister Piyush Goyal said in a tweet.

The minister highlighted the operation involving Annapoorna trains — basically a combination of two trains loaded with foodgrains — that registered record freight movements during the ongoing lockdown.

“Annapoorna Trains from North and Jai Kisan Specials from South mark the beginning of long distance super heavy fast special Freight trains,” Railways said. During the first half of April, more than 3.2 million tonnes of foodgrain had been loaded compared to 1.29 million tonnes in the corresponding period a year ago.

Northern Railway has formed 5,000 tonnes long lead long haul loaded foodgrain trains under this plan and 25 such Annapoorna trains have been running, Railways said in a release. The states covered under this plan were Assam, Bihar, Goa, Gujarat, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Manipur, Nagaland, Odisha, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal and Mizoram.

On similar lines, South Central Railways has also been running “Jai Kisan” Special freight trains to push timely and efficient delivery of foodgrains.

Under this plan, two freight trains loaded at two different originating stations are clubbed at the nearest junction point and moved as single train up to the common junction point of the destination stations, Indian Railways explained in a note. Such a plan is possible because of track availability owing to non-running of passenger trains, it said.

The Railways, in its note, explains how this has been a game changer:

(a) Under normal circumstances, one freight train containing 42 covered wagons loaded with foodgrains carries around 2,600 tonnes.

(b) Under the new concept, two freight trains (42+42 = 84 covered wagons) are moved in a single path. This means double the foodgrain — 5,200 tonnes.

(c) This plan can radically cut journey time of freight trains to their respective destinations.

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