With the emphasis on new-age rolling stocks, the Union Budget has made provision for Indian Railways to acquire 1,800 high horsepower (HP) electric locomotives with the state-of-the-art technology to increase speed of freight trains.
Besides, the Budget 2022-23 has made provision for energy optimizer on new locomotives to save energy, digital tracking with smart features for fault diagnostics to minimize the maintenance cost and introduction of electro pneumatic brakes to improve the operational efficiency of rolling stocks.
Aiming at modernising its loco fleet, the state transporter would acquire 1,000 locomotives with 9,000 HP and 800 engines with 12,000 HP for hauling heavy load in the coming years.
The design of the new locomotives would be modern and customised having features of high haulage capacity, high speed and high energy efficiency, said a senior Railway Ministry official.
Saving energy is a concern for the Railways and hence there is a need to adopt different energy saving options. Artificial Intelligence and machine learning-based energy optimizer is an advanced driver advisory system that helps train drivers operate the trains in a smooth and energy-efficient manner.
Adoption of energy optimizer is the best option to save energy, the official said and added that Budget 2022-23 has sanctioned 100 locomotive energy optimizers in the first phase.
According to a study carried out by DFCC, there is a large scope for emission reduction by reducing energy consumption in the train operation systems.
In order to minimise the maintenance cost of locomotives, locos would be equipped with a smart locomotive propulsion kit to indicate the health index of equipment through sensors/cameras.
According to the Budget proposal, 25 new locomotives would be equipped with the smart system at an estimated cost of Rs 6.25 crore.
As a pilot project, 25 locos and 500 wagons would also be equipped with electronically controlled pneumatic brakes (ECP) to improve the operational efficiency of rolling stocks.
ECP brakes is a new technology which will provide benefits under most operational scenarios because of the shorter braking distance and the potential for the closer spacing of trains.
Arun Kumar Das is a senior journalist covering railways. He can be contacted at email@example.com.
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