Gunjan Vakharia, Head of Business-Mobility, Siemens Limited, speaks to Swarajya highlighting Siemens’ vision in developing the Indian Railways
Excerpts from the interview
Q. How does Siemens contribute to the development of the Indian Railways in India?
A: Siemens Mobility sees its core purpose as nation-building and contributing to India's growth. With a 150-year presence in India, Siemens addresses the entire railway value chain.
We provide software solutions for journey planning through our software solutions, electrification for both mainline and mass transit, signalling for mass transit and auto-signalling projects for mainline where nearly 20 per cent of interlockings are coming from Siemens.
Siemens is actively involved in public-private partnership projects for the city of Pune, with our partner TATA where we are building a turnkey project starting from construction, all the way up to the operation.
Q. What digital solutions does Siemens offer to optimise costs and achieve 100 per cent system availability in the rail sector?
A: Siemens leverages digital solutions such as the industrial metaverse, creating a photo-real replica of the real world. We are connecting the real and digital world together.
With India having a railway network of 65,000 plus kilometres, using a digital replica we can traverse through time and see how different component and systems work in the railway network. Siemens uses artificial intelligence and machine learning for predictive maintenance, identifying potential issues in advance.
Siemens has implemented this technology in Thameslink, United Kingdom where trains communicate their health status before reaching the depot, streamlining maintenance processes, and enhancing system availability.
Q. How is Siemens supporting India's efforts to electrify rail networks and reduce carbon emissions?
A: Siemens is actively contributing to India's electrification goals, with Indian Railways already electrifying nearly 90 per cent of its broad-gauge network. Indian Railways aims to become net carbon zero by 2030.
And, with the intent and the speed that has been shown by the Government of India and the Ministry of Railways, it has been commendable.
Siemens is involved in various electrification projects across states, including a recent win which is a Rigid Overhead Catenary System (ROCS)-based project for a rail electrification in Jammu and Kashmir.
In the mass transit sector too, we are the leading company when it comes to electrification in mass transit.
Siemens this year has secured projects in Ahmedabad, Surat, Mumbai, and Jammu and Kashmir. We have a set of portfolios, we are doing full projects, we are also supplying products for the electrification, and we are committed to take this journey forward.
Q. What are the key advantages and sustainability benefits of Siemens' 9,000 HP Locomotive for Indian Railways?
A: Siemens 9,000 HP Locomotive is designed for efficient freight transport it incorporates modern technology like an IGBT-based propulsion system. Over its lifecycle, it is expected to reduce carbon-di-oxide (CO2) emissions by nearly 800 million tons.
With a capacity to carry 4,500 tons of freight at 120 km/h, this locomotive not only enhances operational efficiency but also contributes to India's goal of doubling the share of rail freight.
The locomotive's speed and freight capacity offer economic benefits by reducing transit time and associated costs.
Q. What other mobility projects is Siemens involved in for Indian Railways, and how do they impact the rail sector?
A: Siemens is engaged in a broad spectrum of projects across India, from electrification in cities like Ahmedabad, Surat, and Mumbai to metro projects in Nagpur, Kolkata, and Bengaluru. The company plays a crucial role in auto-signalling projects, increasing throughput on existing tracks.
Siemens is actively contributing to major initiatives such as Vande Bharat, where we are developing a propulsion system. We have an order for nine Vande Bharat propulsion systems.
We take great pride, that we are doing all these projects with our engineering centres right here in India.
Our motto is to mobilise India by making in India, for India and for the world. We have multiple engineering centres in India, supporting the "Make-in-India" initiative, demonstrating our commitment to strengthening the nation's railway infrastructure.
Q. What did Siemens showcase at the 15th IREE event, and how does it contribute to the rail industry in India?
A: Siemens’ Mobility business in India showcased how it is transforming the rail sector and mobilising India with its cutting-edge technologies and solutions that are setting new standards for the industry.
Siemens had a comprehensive presence at the 15th IREE event, showcasing its diverse portfolio, which includes rolling stock, rail automation and electrification, a comprehensive software portfolio, turnkey systems as well as related services.
A key highlight at the Siemens booth was the 9,000 HP electric locomotive digital twin showcase. We actively participate at IREE demonstrating our commitment to the development of India's rail infrastructure.
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