Alstom Madhepura Electric Locomotive plan on track

At a time when diesel locomotive factory project of General Electric at Marhowra in Bihar has been scrapped, Alstom of France is steadily moving ahead.

MADHEPURA: At a time when there are clouds over the future of General Electric’s diesel locomotive factory project at Marhowra in Bihar, another foreign multinational investor, Alstom of France, is moving ahead with its electric locomotive project.

It was in November 2015 that the railways had awarded contracts to GE and Alstom, to set up diesel and electric locomotive factories at Marhowra and Madhepura (also in Bihar), respectively. Together, these were expected to attract Rs 40,000 crore investment to the state.

A proposal to end the Marhowra project was mooted at a review meeting of the new railways minister, Piyush Goyal on September 7, citing the increased focus on electrification.

On Thursday, Alstom said the first two rail car body shells for the proposed facility had come to Haldia port. It would arrive at the Madhepura facility next week. These first two (of five) car body shells are from Belfort, France, each weighing 19 tonnes.The third shell is due to leave from France by the end of this month and would reach India by end-November.

Belfort is the site for Alstom’s Centre of Excellence for design and production of locomotives (the company made its first e-loco in 1926). Once assembled here, they’d take the form of Alstom’s PRIMA T8 range.

Jean-Francois Beaudoin, the company’s senior vice-president for the Asia-Pacific, said: “The next stage is the assembly…these e-locos consume up to 50 per cent less fuel than conventional shunting locomotives.” Named ‘WAG12’, these 12,000 Hp locos would be capable of hauling up to 9,000 tonnes of weight and run at 120 km an hour.