Indian Railways set to get 1st High-speed Electric Locomotive in March 2018

NEW DELHI: Indian Railways’ all new 12,000 horsepower electric locomotive — being produced in collaboration with Alstom of France and which can run at speeds of up to 120 kmph — would be rolled out in March when French President Emmanuel Macron visits India, Railway Ministry sources said.

According to the sources, the assembly of the first 12,000 hp locomotive at Bihar’s Madhepura plant is complete and its trials are on. “The all new engine would be rolled out in March this year, when Macron will visit India to participate in the International Solar Alliance meeting,” the source told, not wishing to be identified.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, during his visit last week to Davos for the World Economic Forum, announced that the French President would be participating in the International Solar Alliance meeting in March.

The official also said that the new WAG 12 electric locomotive would be used to haul freight trains. It can haul about 9,000 tonnes of goods.

The first body shell of the twin-section electric locomotive from Alstom’s factory in France arrived in India last September.

“The WAG 12 will enable Indian Railways to have a fleet of locomotives equipped with state of the art propulsion technology,” Alstom Vice President Sales and Business Development (Asia Pacific) Bharat Salhotra told.

“Induction of 12,000 HP locomotives will be a transformational step as it will allow Indian Railways to run heavy haul and long haul trains over the Dedicated Freight Corridor,” Salhotra said.

The Railway official said that the increase in speed would result in improving line capacity in the rail network.

“It will help in speeding up movement of goods trains by increasing the current average speed of the freight trains from 60 kmph to 100 kmph,” the official said.

According to ministry officials, Indian Railways currently uses 6,000 hp locomotives for freight services.

The Alstom VP also opined that the step of the government will position “Indian Railways as among the very best in the world when it comes to freight haulage”.

“These high horsepower electric locomotives are being built in compliance with the Indian standards of freight transport and are designed for the tough Indian climatic conditions,” Salhotra said.

“The significant jump in the operating parameters will also allow for faster, safer and more reliable freight movement across the country, thereby reducing congestion for passenger train services and freight services, as also reduce the logistics cost of rail transportation,” he said.

According to the Railway Ministry, Indian Railways will manufacture 800 such electric locomotives over the next 11 years in a joint venture with the Alstom at the Madhepura locomotive factory.

The Railways had awarded the Rs 20,000 crore project to Alstom in November 2015 after the commissioning of the factory in Bihar. The FDI component in the Madhepura project is about Rs 1,200 crore

“A total of 800 double section freight electric locomotives will be supplied followed by the associated long-term maintenance of the electric engines,” the Alstom Vice President added.

The project also includes two maintenance depots in Uttar Pradesh’s Saharanpur and Maharashtra’s Nagpur.

A total of five locomotives will be assembled at the factory by 2019, and rest will be manufactured under the Make in India initiative.

As per schedule, 35 locomotives would be rolled out from the factory by 2020, 60 in 2021, followed by 100 every year till the target of 800 is met.

According to the Alstom, the Madhepura factory is a true embodiment of the government’s Make in India vision with a localisation of almost 85 to 90 per cent of components.