In a notable contribution to India's sustainability goals, Indian Railways plans to deploy over one lakh aluminium wagons in the coming years with a potential annual carbon emission reduction of over 25 lakh tonnes.
On Sunday (16 October), India's first indigenously developed aluminium freight rake with additional carrying capacity was flagged off by Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw.
It has been fully designed and developed indigenously in collaboration with RDSO, Hindalco and Besco Wagon.
These rakes are 180 tonnes lighter than existing steel rakes, can carry 5-10 per cent more payload, consume less energy with relatively negligible wear and tear to rolling stock and rails.
“The bottom discharge aluminium freight wagon, specifically designed to carry coal, is tipped to reduce the carbon footprint measurably. For every 100 kg weight reduction of the wagon, the lifetime CO2 saving is 8-10 tonnes. This translates to a saving of more than 14,500 tonnes of CO2 for a single rake,” Hindalco said.
“With the Railways planning to deploy more than one lakh wagons in the coming years, the potential annual CO2 reduction could be to the tune of over 25 lakh tonnes, with say 15-20 per cent shift to aluminium wagons – a notable contribution to the country's sustainability goals,” it added.
The new generation wagons, fabricated by M/S BESCO based on RDSO-approved design are made from high strength aluminium alloy plates and extrusions, indigenously made at Hindalco's state-of-the-art rolling facility in Hirakud, Odisha with extrusions from the company's Renukoot plant in Uttar Pradesh.
Hindalco is also planning to participate in manufacturing aluminium coaches for high-speed passenger trains.
Aluminium trains command a lion's share in the United States, Europe and Japan because of attributes such as sleek, aerodynamic designs and their ability to tilt at high speeds without going off the rails.
Aluminium is the preferred choice for metro trains worldwide for their durability and passenger safety, as it has improved crashworthiness or superior crash absorption capability.
Indian Railways have already announced their plans to make aluminium bodied Vande Bharat train sets.
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