Prime Minister launches Railways first 12,000 HP ‘Make in India’ Electric Locomotive; it’s a game-changer!

The locomotive rolled out of the factory in Bihar’s Madhepura and will now go to Saharanpur in Uttar Pradesh for extensive testing before it is inducted into the Indian Railways. The electric locomotive manufacturing facility has been set up as joint venture between French major Alstom (76%) and Indian Railways (24%).

PATNA: Indian Railways takes big step towards environment-friendly transformation – Prime Minister Narendra Modi has flagged off Indian Railways’ first ‘Make in India’ 12,000 HP electric locomotive. The locomotive rolled out of the factory in Bihar’s Madhepura and will now go to Saharanpur in Uttar Pradesh for extensive testing before it is inducted into the Indian Railways. The electric locomotive manufacturing facility has been set up as joint venture between French major Alstom (76%) and Indian Railways (24%). The 3.5 billion euros project is said to be the biggest FDI (Foreign Direct Investment) project in Indian Railways. The new high-powered electric locomotives will run on dedicated freight corridors, pulling freight at much better speeds and doing so in a more ‘green’ way than the diesel locomotives. The electric locomotives will be gamechangers for Indian Railways as the national transporter looks to commission dedicated freight corridors for faster movement of goods at a time when roadways is giving stiff competition.

The WAG12 (Prima 8) locomotives will be able to haul as much as 6000 tonnes at a maximum speed of 120 kmph. Said to be one of the most powerful electric locomotive, this will allow for faster acceleration and deceleration of freight trains on the Indian Railways network. The locomotives have Insulated Gate Bipolar Transistors (IGBT)-based propulsion technology and are able to save energy in an efficient way due to regenerative braking. The electric locomotives will have LED lamps and low voltage cables – making them ‘green’ locomotives. Technology transfer forms a major part of the initiative and as much as 90% of the components that will be used to make the electric locomotives will be from India. The first 5 car body shells for the locomotives will come from Belfort, but eventually everything will be manufactured in India.

Alstom will manufacture 800 electric locomotives at the Madhepura facility and the contract also involves maintenance of these locos over a span of 11 years. For maintenance purposes, facilities are being set up by Alstom in Saharanpur (Uttar Pradesh) and Nagpur (Maharashtra). The joint venture aims to provide around 10,000 direct and indirect jobs in the states of Bihar, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh.

Alstom executives told that the electric locomotive that has been flagged off today is a prototype that will be tested extensively by Indian Railways in the months to come. The locomotive is expected to press into service by the end of this year. In the meantime, Alstom will have at least 3 more locomotives ready for testing and induction. Eventually once the facility attains its full production capacity, one locomotive will be rolled out every three days.

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