TRUCKS UNLOADING FROM RO-RO TRAIN AT SURATHKAL RAILWAY STATION OF KONKAN RAILWAYS.
The Konkan Railway (abbreviated KR and कोरे) is a railway operated by the Konkan Railway Corporation, with its headquarters at CBD Belapur in Navi Mumbai, Maharashtra, India. The first passenger train ran on Konkan railway tracks on 20 March 1993, between Udupi and Mangalore. During its initial years of operation in the mountainous Konkan region, a number of accidents prompted Konkan Railway to implement new technology. Anti-collision devices, the Sky Bus and roll-on/roll-off (RORO) are several of the railway’s innovations. The 741-km (461-mi) line connects the states of Maharashtra, Goa and Karnataka. The first train on the completed track was sent off on January 26, 1998.
The route from Roha to Veer is double track. The rest of the route to Thokur is a single track, which is being electrified. The total route length is about 738 kilometres (459 mi). Although it has been designed for high-speed traffic of 160 kilometres per hour (99 mph), the fastest train on the route—the Trivandrum Rajdhani Express, which used to run at a maximum speed of 140 kilometres per hour (87 mph)—runs at a maximum speed of 110 kilometres per hour (68 mph). The route is open to freight and passenger traffic and runs parallel to the Arabian Sea, offering views along the coast. There are fifty-six stations on the line.
Freight response to the railway was lukewarm, prompting its corporation to consider reducing its rates. With an outstanding debt of ₹33.75 billion, the KRCL was counting on freight traffic for revenue. To attract freight traffic, the corporation began advertising to industries on the route.
The corporation introduced roll-on/roll-off (RORO) service, a road-rail system, on the section between Kolad (Maharashtra) and Verna, Goa in 1999; it was extended to the Surathkal railway station in Karnataka in 2004. The RORO service, the first of its kind in India, allowed trucks to be transported on flatcars. It has been popular, carrying about 1.6 million trucks and earning over ₹1.2 billion by 2009.
The route was popular with passengers due to its connectivity with regions hitherto inaccessible by rail and the substantial time savings for commuters between western and southern India. Several trains which had taken circuitous routes ran on the Konkan Railway, reducing running time. The first of these was the Mumbai-Mangalore Netravati Express (later extended to Trivandrum), which was diverted to the Konkan Railway on 1 March 1998; this was followed by the Thiruvananthapuram Rajdhani Express on 1 April of that year. The Matsyagandha Express, running from Lokmanya Tilak Terminus to Mangalore, began service on 1 May 1998. The Hazrat Nizamuddin-Mangalore Mangala Lakshadweep Express was diverted to the route and extended to Ernakulam Junction on 1 August 1998. The Pune-Ernakulam Junction Express was introduced on 25 February 1999. The Marusagar Express, which runs between Jaipur and Ernakulam Junction and was extended to Ajmer via the Konkan Railway, began service on 12 October 2001. The Jan Shatabdi Express was flagged off between Mumbai and Madgaon (the longest-running Jan Shatabdi) on 16 April 2002 to commemorate Indian Railways’ 150th anniversary. On 1 February 2008, a Garib Rath Express between the Kochuveli railway station in Thiruvananthapuram and Lokmanya Tilak Terminus began service.
The Tejas Express is the first semi-high-speed, fully air-conditioned train fleet introduced by Indian Railways, with modern on-board facilities. Its inaugural run was on 24 May 2017 from Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus to Karmali railway station in Goa. It covered 552 km (342 mi) in eight hours and 30 minutes.