With Indian Railways targeting complete electrification in broad gauge routes, the national transporter is planning to phase out 2,600 diesel locomotives.
Aiming at reduction in emissions and use of fossil fuel in train operation, Indian Railways would phase out over 2,600 diesel locomotives in the next few years, paving the way for 100 per cent electrification in broad gauge routes.
With focus on clean and green energy, the state-run transporter has written to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) with details of an action plan to phase out 2,695 diesel locos from the operation in the next five years.
While actual number of diesel locos withdrawn from operation is expected to be much higher, these 2,695 locos are the minimum number to be grounded from the mainline, Railway Ministry stated in its recent letter to CPCB and Environment Ministry.
According to the phase-out plan, 970 diesel locos will be grounded in 2020-21, followed by 360 in 2021-22, 365 in 2022-23 and 505 in 2023-24.
While the number of locos to be withdrawn in 2025-26 is yet to be decided, 495 locos will be grounded in 2024-25.
Only a limited number of diesel locos would ply for disaster management, emergencies and strategic reasons, the railways said.
There are about 5,000 diesel locos and an equal number of electrical locos in the railways fleet.
The aim is to have about 10,000 electric locos for train operation with gradual switching over to electrical traction and subsequent withdrawal of diesel locos, said a senior Railway Ministry official.
Railways is going ahead with a complete electrification programme and expects to achieve the target by December 2022 as the 2,500 km long track is yet to be electrified.
However, the senior railway official clarified that there would not be a complete withdrawal of diesel locos from the system as these engines are required for strategic and emergency purposes.
The diesel locos are mostly operational now in the North Frontier and North Western zones.