Diesel Locomotive Works (DLW), a diesel-electric locomotive manufacturer, has developed world’s first electric locomotive converted from diesel locomotive, which was flagged off by India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the city of Varanasi, this Tuesday (February 20). The locomotive was developed as a part of Indian Railways’ efforts to achieve 100% electrification of broad gauge routes by year 2021-22.
The prototype was reportedly manufactured by DLW in just 69 days, with work starting on 22 December 2017 and the vehicle build finishing on 28 February 2018. The project was sanctioned on 27 November 2018 by the national transporter for commercial services.
The converted electric locomotive will deliver 92% more power than the power generated by two diesel locomotives, as reported by Financial Express. Further, according to Indian Railways, the cost of converting diesel locomotive into electric locomotive is less than the cost to carry out midlife upgrades on the current diesel locomotives.
The electric locomotive will reportedly lead to increase in the average speed of freight (goods) trains, which would result in improved sectional capacity(which is the number of trains that can run on the section in 24 hours). Last year, the converted electric locomotive completed trials at a maximum permissible speed of 75 km/h and successfully hauled 5200 tonnes of freight on its first journey from Varanasi to Ludhiana.
This is one of the several measures that the Indian government is undertaking to promote cleaner forms of travel and reduce the dependence of the Indian economy on fossil fuels. In 2017, Indian government announced plans to make the country a 100% EV nation by 2030.
Furthering the goal in November 2018, Indian government increased the outlay for the first phase of Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Hybrid and Electric vehicles (FAME) scheme to $126.74 Mn (INR 895 Cr). Delhi government also announced ‘The Draft Delhi EV Policy 2018’ in the same month, to speed up the adoption of Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs).
According to India Brand Equity Foundation January 2019 report, the Indian Railways route length network is spread over 115,000 km, with 12,617 passenger trains and 7,421 goods trains each day from 7,349 stations carrying 23 Mn travellers and 3 Mn tonnes (MT) of goods daily. Further, Indian Railways’ revenues increased at a CAGR of 9.66% during FY07-FY18 to $ 27.71 Bn in FY18.