An Introduction To Rail Transport
Transport is an important infrastructure in maintaining and developing any economic activity. Railway Traffic Department is responsible for optimum utilization of Railway assets and their seamless integration to provide a swift and safe transportation service and consequent realization of revenues in-line with the social obligations of the Indian Railways.
Functions of Operating Department :
Railway operation encompasses all the activities connected with the running of a railway. However, Operating department in particular has its role in producing a service called Transportation. In this activity, Operating department harnesses the efforts of all the departments of the Railways. Broadly, the functions can be categorized as under:
Planning of Transport Service: This involves both long term as well as short term planning. A lot of groundwork has to be done to run trains on day-to-day basis. Passenger trains are planned to be run and detailed timetable issued once every year. Arrangements of rolling stock and locomotives are made to meet the expected demand. Similarly, facilities of wagons have to be made available for the goods traffic. Demands for the wagons for different commodities vary during different seasons of the year. Railways have to plan to meet these fluctuations in demand. Planning would involve not only the individual trains but a lot of other activities necessitating creation of capacity to form and start trains at originating stations, run through a section and receive at the destination station.
Running of trains and continuous watch: Running of trains would involve ordering of trains, booking of crew, watching that the conditions are safe for it to run and arranging various requirements on the run. Efficiency of operation of trains depends on the quality of planning whether short term or long term. Transportation staff, both at originating and terminating as well as roadside stations, are busy round the clock to ensure timely and safe running of trains. Passenger trains run on a predetermined schedule, fluctuations in the traffic do not generally influence their running. On the other hand, except for a few scheduled goods trains, goods trains run as and when there is adequate load.
Business Development : Business Development Units (BDUs) have been set up at a field level and Headquarters’ level. Multi-disciplinary teams from BDUs have been reaching out to customers to attract new business by providing appealing value-for-money logistics solutions and by highlighting various new railway policies to the Customers. In order to boost investment from industry in development of additional terminals for handling rail cargos, a new Gati Shakti Multi Modal Cargo Terminal (GCT) policy has been framed and for existing terminals, PPP investment model has been formulated to bring more avenue.
Safety: Safety is the prime attribute of any transport system. No user would like to use a transport system, which does not provide a reasonable amount of safety to the limb, life and property of the user. Safety is, therefore, an integral part of operations and it is the responsibility of Operating department as well to ensure that trains are operated in a safe manner. This requires rigid observance of rules and procedures of safe train operation.
Economy and efficiency: While maintenance departments are responsible for making the assets available to the Operating department in proper fettle, it is the responsibility of the latter to make most optimum utilization thereof. Operating department is, therefore, responsible for the productivity of the system.