3 min read.Updated: 22 Dec 2020, 04:01 PM ISTTamal Nandi
India has become the sixth country in the world to join the club of countries producing high horsepower locomotives indigenously
Indian Railways will deploy these high speed locomotives for operations on major freight routes, including the Dedicated Freight Corridors (DFCs)
Indian Railways' completes five years of awarding the contract to Alstom for manufacturing the high-speed electric locomotives.
Alstom won the contract worth €3.5 billion from Indian Railways to supply 800 fully electric super-powered double-section locomotives of 12,000 HP capable of hauling ~6000 tonnes at a top speed of 120 kmph. These high-speed locomotives are planned to be deployed for operations on major freight routes,including the Dedicated Freight Corridors (DFCs), these e-locos are transforming the heavy freight transportation landscape of India.
Certified by the Ministry of Railways and Commissioner of Railway Safety / RDSO earlier this year, the first WAG 12B e-loco was inducted for commercial services in May 2020. So far, Alstom has successfully manufactured and delivered 50 such e- locos to the Indian Railways. These e-locos have covered close to 2 million kilometres on the railway network till date.
Locomotives manufactured at Madhepura are of 12,000-horsepower with a twin Bo-Bo design, engineered to run at a speed that is twice as faster than regular locomotives and are built to carry 6000 tonnes of goods in one go. Equipped with Insulated Gate Bipolar Transistors (IGBT) based propulsion technology, the WAG 12B uses regenerative braking, reducing energy consumption. Moreover, with this e-loco,Alstom is introducing freight trains that emit lesser heat and traction noise. With 1676mm of Broad Gauge, the e-locos are designed to take smooth turns even at the sharpest of curves.
“Alstom is proud to partner in India’s growth story. Today, as we look back at an eventful five-year journey, it gives me immense pride to state that we have made progress across a spectrum of spheres – technological, infrastructural and socio economic – alike", says Alain Spohr, Managing Director, Alstom India & South Asia.
Basis the contract, which includes associated maintenance of the e-locos for over a period of 13 years, a joint venture was formed between the Indian Railways, Ministry of Railways (26% equity) and Alstom (74% equity) to set up one of India’s largest integrated greenfield manufacturing facilities at Madhepura, Bihar.
Spread across 250 acres, with a production capacity of 120 locomotives per annum, this industrial site is built to international standards of safety and quality. Alstom will deliver 75 units in FY 20/21 & 100 units annually starting next fiscal.
Flagging off the first e-Loco from the Madhepura facility on April 10, 2018, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said, “I am thrilled to flag off the first-ever 12000 HP engine. There are very few countries across the world that use locomotives of this scale and power for freight transport. These engines will upscale the speed of freight transport in India to two times faster".
Highlighting India’s Green Railways dream, Piyush Goyal, Minister of Railways, Commerce & Industry, Consumer Affairs and Food & Public Distribution, Government of India had said, “Our PM has approved a program for 100% electrification of Indian Railways.
With these powerful e-locos being manufactured within the country, India has become the 6th country in the world to join the club of countries producing high horsepower locomotives indigenously.The project also includes setting up of two ultramodern maintenance depots in Saharanpur, Uttar Pradesh and Nagpur, Maharashtra.
These depots are equipped with latest technologies and features to anticipate breakdowns and take proactive measures, thereby playing a substantial role in maintaining India’s most advanced freight locomotives at significantly lower costs. The depot in Saharanpur is currently operational and comes with a ‘Training Centre’ equipped with a loco simulator and smart classrooms for skill development of railway employees and loco pilots. Till date,more than 500 loco pilots from Indian Railways have been trained and going forward,an additional 500 will be trained annually. The Nagpur depot will be functional soon.
This joint venture, the largest FDI project for Indian Railways, has only strengthened our spirit to employ world-class technology for a safer, faster and more carbon-efficient service. As we continue to strengthen the Indo-French partnership, we hope to see our collaborations bring real-time impacts on the lives of the people", said Emmanuel Lenain, Ambassador of France to India.
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