New Delhi (JPN/Bureau): Do you know why you are unable to get reservation in Indian Railways? Why are trains always packed to capacity? The reason is shortage of bogies due to which neither is the Railways able to increase the number of trains nor add bogies to the existing ones.

Its rule of not having more than 24 bogies per train is more due to the shortage of coaches rather than for safety reasons.

For the last nine years, while demand for more passenger coaches has shot up, their numbers have not grown accordingly with per year growth limited to 5.5 per cent. On the other hand, the number of train passengers has gone up by 6.5 per cent in the same duration.

The situation is more or less similar in the case of engines as well.

It is clear that Railways is not able to manufacture coaches as fast as the increase in passengers per year and there is a status quo in this regard.

In 2000-01, Railways had 33,258 bogies for its Mail-express trains. In 2008-09, this number went up to a mere 50,282. Other kind of coaches increased by 3600 – total increase in number of bogies was thus 20,624; per year increase in bogies being only 2,291.

Passenger figure growth for this duration is 6.33 per cent. It is because fewer coaches are made to carry more passengers that there is almost always a problem of availability of berths.

Lalu Prasad had started a coach factory at Raibareilly and an engine factory at Madhepura and Madhaura to tackle this problem. But work at these places has got sluggish after he went.

Raibareilly factory may not see any production for at least the next two years so the entire pressure is upon Kapoorthala and Chennai coach factories. At Madhepura and Madhaura, there is a doubtful situation as far as electric and diesel engine factories are concerned. Very small amount is allocated in Budgets for these factories.

While capacity augmentation is very slow at the existing electric engine factory in Chittaranjan, there are limited possibilities of increasing production at Varanasi diesel engine workshop.