Railways to switch to electric locomotives, phase out diesel engines in 5 years
The decision has raised uncertainty over the US giant’s $2.6-billion diesel locomotive project in Bihar, where GE is setting up a factory at an estimated cost of Rs 2,052 crore. The cancellation of the deal is likely to undermine the government’s Make in India initiative and put future foreign investment at risk.
Indian Railways will phase out diesel locomotives in the next five years and switch to electric locomotives with the focus on increasing speed.
Of the total network of 66,687 route kilometres (RKM) of Indian Railways, only 30,012 RKM is electrified.
Coal and Railways Minister Piyush Goyal said that the Railways will save about Rs 11,500 crore annually, by phasing out diesel locomotives, while addressing a FICCI Executive Committee meeting in New Delhi on Tuesday.
Emphasising on the safety of passengers, he said that he has asked the railway officials to speed up the production of the Linke-Hofmann-Busch (LHB) coaches instead of relying on the Integrated Coach Factory (ICF) coaches.
"We are promoting LHB type coaches as they are more safer as compared to the ICF coaches," he said, while adding that June 2018 will be the last month for the ICF coaches to be manufactured.
"I have also asked the rail coach factories to develop the LHB coaches and has also asked the Rae Bareli coach factory to double up its production, as it currently has the capacity to build 1,000 coaches annually."
The decision has reportedly raised uncertainty over the US giant’s $2.6-billion diesel locomotive project in Bihar, where General Electric (GE) is setting up a factory at an estimated cost of Rs 2,052 crore.
The cancellation of the deal is likely to undermine the government’s Make in India initiative and put future foreign investment at risk.
The project, in which the Railways had limited equity contribution, was reportedly planned for 10 years where GE would have supplied 1,000 diesel locomotives of 4,500 and 6,000 horsepower.