With an aim to promote self-reliance in manufacturing and technology upgradation of Indian Railways, Prime Minister Narendra Modi yesterday (20 April) laid the foundation stone for upgradation of Dahod workshop in Gujarat for manufacturing of 9,000 HP locomotives.
Situated on Mumbai-Delhi main rail route, Dahod workshop was established in 1926 for periodic overhaul of steam locomotives. The unit will be upgraded to electric locomotive manufacturing unit with infrastructural improvements.
Dahod, thus, will be Gujarat’s first and the country’s fourth production unit of the railways to manufacture locomotives. The new upgraded unit will be able to manufacture 1,200 locomotives of 9,000 horsepower (HP) having a speed potential of 120 kmph. The first locomotive is expected to roll out from the factory in the first quarter of 2024.
The unit will produce standard gauge locomotives for international markets and broad gauge locomotives for Indian Railways. Manufacturing of electric locomotives is to be done under supervision of a technology partner as part of the ‘Make in India’ initiative.
The Rs 20,000 crore mega project is expected to provide 3,500 direct jobs and indirect employment to 7,000 people. The economy of Gujarat is also set to get a major boost by creation of opportunities across the entire value chain for setting up of ancillary industrial units.
Locomotive Manufacturing In India
The entire passenger and freight traffic in India is carried by diesel and electric locomotives. Steam locomotives, however, continues to run on certain steam circuits including Hill Railways as icons of IR’s glorious past. A locomotive is also called loco or engine. IR has three established production units manufacturing more than 600 diesel and electric locos per year.
Chittaranjan Locomotive Works (CLW) is IR’s first production unit located at Chittaranjan in Asansol of West Bengal. Presently, CLW is playing a pivotal role in making Indian Railways self reliant in the field of electric traction both for high speed and heavy hauling load. It is one of the largest electric Locomotive manufacturers in the world.
The Banaras Locomotive Works or BLW, formerly Diesel Locomotive Works (DLW), is a premier locomotive manufacturing unit of Indian Railways in Varanasi. DLW stopped manufacturing diesel locomotives in March 2019 and was renamed BLW in October 2020. The change in nomenclature came after the DLW switched from the production of diesel locomotives to electric locomotives as part of efforts to completely electrify the broad-gauge network in the country. However, the unit still produces the diesel locomotives, but only on the demand of non-railway customers (NRC). In January 2022, the 1000th electric loco rolled out from the BLW.
Patiala Locomotive Works (PLW) is a fully owned production unit of Indian Railways, located at the heritage city of Patiala and is the pride of Punjab. The unit manufactures BG electric locomotives and diesel electric tower cars (DETC).
Private Loco Manufacturing
Ministry of Railways entered into a long term procurement-cum-maintenance agreement with GE Diesel Locomotive Private Limited (GEDLPL), a joint venture company of Ministry of Railways (26 per cent equity participation limited to 100 crore) and GE Global Sourcing India Private Limited (74 per cent equity participation) for setting up diesel locomotive factory at Marhowra, Saran District, Bihar and procurement and maintenance of mainline diesel electric locomotives that will be used for freight traffic hauling.
The company is required to supply 1,000 high horse power diesel locomotives (700 locomotives of 4,500 HP and 300 locomotives of 6,000 HP) to Indian Railways over a period of 11 years commencing from 2017-18. Initially, 40 diesel locomotives are to be manufactured in GE facility at Erie, Pennsylvania, USA and the rest 960 diesel locomotives will be manufactured at Marhowra facility.
The Marhowra facility started loco manufacturing from October 2018 and is currently producing about 100 diesel locos in a year.
Ministry of Railways has also entered into a long term procurement-cum-maintenance with Madhepura Electric Locomotive Private Limited (MELPL), a joint venture company of Ministry of Railways (26 per cent equity participation limited to 100 crore) and Alstom Manufacturing India Limited (74 per cent equity participation) for setting up of an electric locomotive factory at Madhepura, Bihar and procurement-cum-maintenance of electric locomotives.
The company is required to supply 800 high horse power electric locomotives to Indian Railways over a period of 11 years. The fully electric high-powered double-section locomotives of 12,000 HP capacity shall be used for freight service and are capable of hauling about 6,000 tonnes at a top speed of 120 km/hr.
The company delivered the 100th electric locomotive of 12,000 HP to Indian Railways in April 2021.
Share Of Locos
According to a written response to a question in Rajya Sabha, Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw stated that Indian Railways operates a daily average of 13,555 trains, of which 37 per cent trains are being hauled by diesel locomotives. The remaining 63 per cent are hauled by electric engines.
As per annual statistical statements for the year 2019-20, total diesel and electricity consumed for running trains were 2,370.55 million litres and 13,854.73 million KWH respectively, which work out to 6.49 million litres per day of diesel and 37.96 million KWH per day of electricity, he said.
9,000 HP Locomotive Features
The new 9,000 HP locomotives will be equipped with a digital tracking system and KAVACH (automatic train protection system). They are capable of hauling a load of 4,500 tonne of cargo.
The locomotives shall be manufactured with the use of green energy and will have a green manufacturing tag. Due to improvement in average speed and loading capacity of freight trains, the new locomotives will lead to reduction in the logistic cost and decongestion of the saturated tracks.
The first Make-in-India 9,000 HP locomotive had rolled out from Chittaranjan Locomotive Works (CLW) on 31 March 2019. The upgraded locomotive class will augment hauling capacity on the existing network of the Indian Railways and also partly meet the demands of the electrified dedicated freight corridor.
Amit Mishra is Staff Writer at Swarajya.
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