SWR’s first ever RORO service flagged off from Nelamangla to Bale

Shri B S Yediyurappa, Chief Minister of Karnataka and Shri Suresh C. Angadi, Minister of State of Railways on August 30, 2020  flagged off the first ever RORO service of South Western Railway from Nelamangla (near Bengaluru) to Bale (near Solapur).

Speaking on the occasion, Shri B S Yediyurappa, Chief Minister of Karnataka said, “Our beloved Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi ji  is emphasizing on Multimodal connectivity. APMC Markets in the region offer tremendous scope for RORO.” He congratulated  Shri Suresh C. Angadi, Minister of  State of Railways for taking lead in the initiative and assured full cooperation from State Government.

Speaking on the occasion, Shri Suresh C. Angadi, Minister of State of Railways said, “Multimodal connectivity is dream of Hon’ble Prime Minister. Thousands of trucks plying between Bengaluru and Solapur. With RORO travel time will be just 17 hours. This is trial run that got delayed due to COVID. Kisan Rail started to help farmers-agricultural produce can be transported across the country.” The RORO service will bring faster development in the region. He congratulated customer of today’s RORO service for taking initiative. He also congratulated all Railway staff for doing mammoth work.

Roll On Roll Off (RORO )is a concept of carrying road vehicles loaded with various commodities, on open flat railway wagons. Hon’ble PM, in his recent Independence day speech, has envisaged multimodal connectivity to take India to next level of development.

Features of RO-RO service:

  • RORO services are combination of best features of road and rail transports in the sense that they offer door to door service with minimal handling transported by fat and direct rail link.
  • Road transport has advantage of door to door delivery of goods. 
  • However, increasing traffic on roads is leading to congestion and delays to passenger vehicles. 
  • This will cause unsafe travel conditions. 
  • Also, delays at interstate check posts due to inspection of various documents, etc. contribute to increased travel time.

On the other hand, Railways provide hassle free and environmentally friendly transport to medium to large quantum of freight. Rail transport is most fuel efficient of all means of transport and is much safer than road.

Advantages of RO-RO:

Roll-on-Roll-off is a multimodal delivery model with following advantages:

  • Faster movement of goods and essentials, reducing Time taken by trucks to reach destinations due to traffic congestion in between cities.
  • Reduces congestion on the roads.
  • Saves precious fuel.
  • Reduces carbon footprint.
  • Relief to crew of truck as it avoids long distance driving.
  • No hassles of check posts/toll gates etc.
  • Seamless Inter-operability between roadways & railways-Inter-modal transport on existing track.
  • Ensuring uninterrupted supply of essential commodities.
  • Free time for loading/unloading is 3 hours.
  • RO-RO will be reckoning force in “vocal for local”.
  • Will boost our local MSME units by encouraging piecemeal/decentralized loading through trucks.
  • RO-RO will help government initiatives like “operation green” to stabilize prices of  TOP(tomato, potato and Onion).
  • Provides link between agriculture producing regions and agro consumption centres.
  • Ensures farmers get the right market and right price for their produce.
  • Connects and Balances the commodity deficient and surplus markets.

RO-RO train services were first introduced in Indian Railways on Konkan Railways in 1999, and are running successfully since then. In lockdown announced to control the spread of Covid-19 in the country, the RO-RO model came to the rescue for many transporters.

  • A Solapur based firm, M/s Jitendra Realty and Infrastructure Pvt Ltd Company (JRIPL) explored the commercial feasibility of RO-RO train services between Solapur and Bengaluru.  
  • Based on the feasibility report submitted by Central Railway, recommended by South Central and South Western Railway, Railway Board has approved the RO-RO service between the two commercial Hubs Nelamangla (near  Bengaluru) and  Bale (near Solapur) in April 2020.
  • Bengaluru and Solapur cities are thriving business cities, rich in agri-products.  
  • Substantial road traffic carrying large number of commodities moves  between these two cities

After the detailed study, the route of RORO train services between these two cities ,is decided to be passing through four States – Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Maharashtra

  • Rake Composition – Flat Wagons (BRN) – Permitted carrying capacity 66 Tonnes per wagon
  • Goods Stock – BRN (Leased @ Rs.4 Lakh for a round trip)
  • Number of Days taken per round trip – 6 Days per round trip
  • Number of Trucks in one operation – 42
  • Minimum Pay Load per Truck – 30 Tonnes
  • Total tonnage – 1260 MT in one trip, 2520 MT in one  round trip
  • Free Time for Loading/ Unloading – 3 hours
  • Freight per round Trip – Rs.2,700/- per tonne per round trip
  • Expected Revenue – Rs.34 Lakh  per round trip for full load

Technical aspects: The most important safety consideration of the RORO train service is the maximum moving dimensions of the trucks loaded onto the railway wagons. Railway routes have permissible limits of height and width of the moving vehicles and when trucks are loaded on top of the wagons, their overall dimensions must not exceed these limits.

This issue was examined by all concerned and based on the vertical clearance available,it was decided that trucks with a maximum height of 3300 mm only shall be moved in RORO trains in this route.

  • For loading such trucks on to the flat wagons, loading and unloading ramps are required at each end. 
  • Selection of both terminals was done keeping in mind the accessibility to state highways, availability of reversal of reversal of train and line capacity of terminal etc. 
  • The agency undertook construction of ramps at Bale station near Solapur and Nelamangala station near Bengaluru at their own cost. 
  • Other logistic items such as height gauge for measurement of height of the consignment before loading, weighbridge, circulating area for truck parking movement, electricity for day/night operations, etc. were also provided at both the terminals in consultation with local agencies.

RORO services on Bengaluru – Solapur section shall be the only privately operated RORO train services on Indian Railways which will not only help two major markets of Solapur and Bengaluru and also ease congestion on busy highway giving a big relief to the travelling public on this route.

The major commodities expected from Bengaluru end are spices, dry fruits, raw coconuts, coffee, nuts, etc. while from Solapur end are agricultural products such as onion, pulses, fruits, etc are likely to be loaded. After Feb. 2020 it is observed that transportation of agricultural products has assumed much importance.

Sectors Benefited:


  • APMC vegetable market one of the biggest onion market in South India
  • More than 500 shops is about 9 Kms from Nelamangala
  • Serves Coconut growers from Tumkur, Dobbaspet, Tiptur, etc
  • Pineapples growers from Bengaluru Rural Areas
  • Sapota cultivators from Bengaluru Rural Area
  • Sabudana manufacturers from Salem
  • Spice(dry chilli & others) Cultivators from Karnataka Rural regions
  • Perishable vegetables from Nelamangala and neighbouring areas


M/s.Unibic, Denzo, Kirloskar, Jindal, Kemwell, Powerica & many Pharma Industries  are located within 15 kms from Nelamangala


  • Major Transport Hub – within 15 kms from Nelmangala
  • Major Transport services s operating in the vicinity:
    • M/s. TCI, Associated Carriers, ABT, PrakashRoadlines, DDTC etc
    • Peenya Industrial Area – 20 kms from Nelamangala
    • Dobbaspet Industrial Area – 25 kms from Nelmangala
    • HireHalli Industrial Area  – 35 kms from Nelmangala

Expected Commodities

Agricultural Produce, Industrial Goods, Chemicals, etc.

Looking at the advantages and opportunities of the RORO, State Govt. has also promised to extend full support to RORO.By this hassle free RORO service, agriculture and industries of the both ends will get tremendous benefit, which will be a WIN-WIN for all stake holders .

Other recent achievements of SWR:

  • Recently, Wheel shop of Mysuru Workshop has successfully manufactured High speed MEMU motor coach wheel that is fit to run at a speed of 160 kmph.
  • Bharat Earth Movers Limited (BEML) had sought Mysuru Workshop to manufacture the 900 Trailer Coaches Wheel sets for 225 Trailer Coach Cars.
  • 300 Motor Coach Wheel Sets for 75 Motor Coach Cars. 
  • BEML is manufacturing MEMU coaches for 8 car formation with Bombardier Propulsion System to ply between Ghaziabad and Delhi region. 
  • All the required Material including drill bits have to be supplied by BEML at their cost. 
  • The work consists of machining and pressing of the wheel and Axle Assy.
  • This wheel manufacturing is undertaken for the first time in Indian Railway workshop against M/s Bombardier quality plan. 
  • M/S Bombardier Transportations use these types of Motor Suspension Unit (MSU) Assemblies for Electrical Multiple Unit (EMU) rakes in India.
  • The first batch of 6 wheel sets is ready for dispatch to BEML under deposit work of Rs.2.4 Crores 188 Trailer Coach wheels and 52 Motor Coach wheels have so far been manufactured.
  • Shri T Srinivasu Chief Workshop Manager, Mysuru under the direction of Shri Ravi Kumar, PCME has executed this work for the first time on Indian Railways.

Source: PIB-Press Release

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