Indian Railways: Proposals For 20 Hydrogen-Powered Trains Likely In Next Budget
Twenty hydrogen trains, 25 high-capacity parcel vans and 300 AC Electric Multiple Unit (EMU) coaches are slated to be part of the rolling stock programme in the 2023-24 Union Budget.
Besides, 250 Mainline EMU coaches for the suburban section are also to be included in the next Budget proposal for facilitating local travel in the country.
As a pilot project, the Railways has awarded a contract for converting a diesel train to hydrogen-powered train. The first prototype hydrogen fuel-based train would run on Sonipat-Jind section in Haryana.
Going green, the Railways would move full throttle to developing hydrogen-powered trains in 2023. The use of hydrogen and, in particular, green hydrogen as a rail fuel offers a range of benefits, including supporting zero carbon goals as a clean energy source.
Until now only Germany has developed hydrogen-powered trains. This year Germany launched the world's first fleet of hydrogen-powered passenger trains.
Ahead of General Elections in 2024, the next Union Budget slated to be presented on 1 February 2023, will be crucial for the government.
Expected to be growth oriented, the next Budget will have many proposals to make the train journey comfortable to strengthen the passenger sector and also boost goods loading.
However, since the focus is now on Vande Bharat trainsets, the procurement order for Linke-Hofmann Busch (LHB) coaches is likely to be less than the previous year.
There is a move to announce 400 more Vande Bharat trains in the coming Budget and with this the total number of such trains would be about 900.
Fresh sanction for LHB coaches is supposed to come down from the last year as the Railways is planning to replace all Mail/Express trains with Vande Bharat service in a gradual manner, said a senior Railway Ministry official.
Though it was stated earlier that all conventional coaches would be replaced by LHB coaches, now there is a change in the plan with more and more trains being added in the Vande Bharat fleet.
In 2022-23, there were provisions for 5,896 LHB coaches in the rolling stock programme, but in 2023-24, the LHB number is certainly to be much less in comparison to the previous year.
In order to cater to the growing demand of AC coaches in Mumbai suburban services, there would be provision for 300 AC EMU coaches in the Budget.
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