Indian Railways the fastest moving railway service provide in the world to electrify its entire rail network. In fact, in most of the states of India, the Railways has already achieved 100 percent electrification. On the other hand, the Indian Railways has launched train services like Vande Bharat Express, the engineless semi-high speed trains that connect important cities of India, modernizing the rail travel, as well as reducing the travel time, thanks to its top speed of 180 kmph. However, a majority of this electrification journey depends on converting the existing trains into electric ones by replacing diesel loco with electric loco.
Rolling stock giants, Siemens, recently bagged a Rs 25,000 crore project of manufacturing 1,200 units of 9,000 horsepower (HP) electric locomotives from the Indian Railways. The German brand will make the India’s most powerful electric loco at the Dahod workshop under the Make in India initiative. It is Indian Railways’ first locomotive production unit in Gujarat, the home state of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The 9,000 HP loco will be have a haulage capacity of 4,500 tonnes of load while the maximum speed of these locomotives will be up to 120 km per hour.
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We recently got in touch with Gunjan Vakharia, Head, Mobility Business, Siemens Limited to understand more about this 9000 HP electric loco made for the Indian Railways, apart from other ways in which Siemens has partnered with the Railways. Here’s our exclusive conversation:
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Tell us about Siemens’ Mobility and India operations
Siemens’ Mobility business in India offers intelligent and efficient technologies and solutions for passenger and freight transportation covering the entire gamut of Rail infrastructure and Metro-Rail solutions. It is constantly innovating its portfolio in its core areas of rolling stock, rail automation and electrification, turnkey systems as well as related services. With digitalization, Siemens Mobility is enabling mobility operators to make infrastructure intelligent and sustainable by enhancing system availability, maximizing network capacity, optimizing customer experience, and reducing life cycle costs.
The Business also offers a range of hardware and software solutions for rail traffic automation, high-speed trains, commuter trains, locomotives, trainsets for intercity travel, urban public vehicles such as metro, light rail and electrification systems, intelligent traffic systems, parking and tolling solutions, as well as remote services.
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What is your association with Indian Railways?
For the past seven decades, Siemens has been a partner in progress for Indian Railways, providing cutting-edge technologies and solutions to power sustainable growth including its latest offering of 9000 HP Electric Locomotives. The Mobility business has been supporting the Indian Railways’ vision of complete electrification, enhanced haulage capability and building high-technology systems in line with the Make in India initiative.
It has partnered the Indian Railways in several landmark projects to modernize track infrastructure, enhance capacity and connectivity as well as improve safety and speed. The focus has also been on energy efficiency, passenger riding experience, development and adoption of innovations and new technologies for both passenger and freight transportation.
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Tell us about the 9000 HP rail engine
Siemens Limited has received an order for 1,200 locomotives of 9,000 horsepower (HP) from Indian Railways, marking the single largest locomotive order in the history of Siemens Mobility and single largest order in the history of Siemens India. Siemens Limited will design, manufacture, commission and test the locomotives. Deliveries are planned over an eleven-year period, and the contract includes 35 years of full-service maintenance.
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The locomotives will be assembled in the Indian Railways factory based in Dahod, Gujarat. Maintenance will be performed in four Indian Railways depots located in Vishakhapatnam, Raipur, Kharagpur and Pune. Locomotive assembly and maintenance will be implemented together with the staff of Indian Railways. The contract has a total value of Rs. 26,000 crore (approximately), excluding taxes and price variation.
The state-of-the-art locomotives will be used for freight transport throughout the Indian Railways network and are specified to haul loads of 4,500 tons at a maximum speed of 120 km per hour. Producing 9,000 HP, they will be one of the most powerful freight locomotives in the world. They will be equipped with advanced propulsion systems that are also produced locally in Siemens factories in India. Siemens Mobility will use the power of its Railigent platform to deliver highest availability and performance.
Outlook on green railways for sustainable mobility
Our aim is to be a key partner in India’s quest for safer, greener & smarter railways, making in India for India and the world. The Mobility business has been supporting the Indian Railways’ vision of complete electrification, enhanced haulage capability and building high-technology systems in line with the Make in India initiative. We take great pride in partnering Indian Railways and Metro operators in landmark projects like ‘Vande Bharat’, Electrification & Signaling projects for Mainline and Metros, providing advanced digital solutions and our latest offering the 9000 HP electric locomotives.
What are the future prospects of the Indian Railways?
The Ministry of Railways has been driving upgradation of technology and modernization of infrastructure (track, signaling and telecommunication). With the National Rail Plan 2030 setting the blueprint, investments are expected to further boost development of infrastructure and products under ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’. Innovation through research, design, manufacturing and digitalization will continue to be key drivers in transformation of Indian Railways.
How big of a role electric loco can play?
Indian Railways has set an ambitious target to cut carbon emissions by more than 450-mn tonnes through optimum usage of Dedicated Freight Corridors vis-à-vis road transport. The 9000 HP locomotives, which will be integral to the efficient operation of the DFCs, are at the core of the Railways’ climate goals. With initiatives like 100% electrification, deployment of sustainable technologies and adoption of sustainable practices, the Railways will be key contributors to the country’s net-zero transition.
Driving this climate goal journey, will be the new generation of state-of-art, highly efficient and eco-friendly 9000 HP locomotives that will combine environmental protection with extreme cost-effectiveness using green technologies to set new standards in freight transport.
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