Indian Railways to develop LNG-powered Locomotives shortly, tells Kharge

New Delhi: In a move to make the railways environment-friendly, the Indian Railways are working on developing a locomotive prototype that can run on liquefied natural gas (LNG), Railway Minister Mallikarjun Kharge said on Thursday.

Inaugurating the 10th edition of the International Rail Exhibition and Conference organized by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) here, Kharge said an Indian manufacturer has set up a joint venture with a foreign firm for design and development of the system under the overall supervision of the railway ministry’s Research Design and Standard Organization (RDSO).

According to a railway official, it plans to build another 20 LNG-based locomotives, once the prototype is successfully field-tested.

The Indian Railways estimate upto 50 percent reduction in operating costs with LNG-based locomotives.

Indian Railways’ current fleet of locomotives are mostly based on diesel and electricity. Diesel prices have been rising lately due to increasing prices of crude oil and the depreciation of the rupee compared to the US dollar.

Estimates of India’s gas reserves indicate that the country has around 1,240 billion cubic metres (bcm) of conventional gas, 7,465 bcm of recoverable shale gas and about 1,890 trillion cubic metres of gas hydrates.