Indian Railways Electrify 6000 Route KMs In 365 Days; Sets New Record In Electrification
The Indian Railways, a significant driver of the economy, has set a record of electrifying 6,015 Route Kilometers (RKM) in a single year, 2020-21.
The previous record was 5,276 RKM achieved in the year 2018-19.
Record Broken Despite Pandemic
Achieving the new record was helped in some ways by the Covid pandemic due to which normal running of trains was halted, giving the govt time and space to continue the ambitious project.
Railway Minister Piyush Goyal said that for the first time end-to-end connectivity on routes via electrification was achieved in the North-Eastern part of India.
The Future Is Electric
Recent years have seen renewed effort towards railway electrification which would help India reduce its dependence on fossil fuels and achieve energy security.
All of this would enable the railways, a mainstay in Indian transportation, to become faster, more eco-friendly and energy efficient.
The Railways is aiming towards 100% electrification of its network by December 2023.
When this is achieved, Indian Railways will finally meet its goals of “net zero” emissions by 2030 which means that the entire electrical load will be sourced from renewable energy.
Popular Electrified Routes
Some of the most significant electrified routes are as follows-
- Mumbai-Howrah via Jabalpur
- Gorakhpur-Varanasi via Aunrihar
- Jabalpur-Nainpur-Gondia- Ballarshah
- New Delhi-New Coochbehar-Srirampur Assam via Patna & Katihar
Govt Could Potentially Save Crores
As the electrification drive chugs along, the Railways could gain economic benefits by saving on fuel bills due to reduced import of fossil fuels.
For example, the Ministry of Railways says that the cost per kilometre for diesel traction is 5.1 paise.
For 1km with electric traction, the cost comes down to 1.5 paise
It has been estimated that once electrification is complete, the total savings could amount to Rs 13,510 crore per annum.
Maintenance costs are also reduced since it costs more to maintain diesel locomotives compared to half the cost for electric locomotives.
Railways Exploring Solar Energy
The Railways is also exploring the use of solar energy for traction power requirements and to make the railways completely green.
More than 960 stations already have solar panels installed which helps it meet its energy needs.
The Railways is also looking to invite private players in the solar power drive by promising a Letter of Credit (LC) in case of payment default by railways among other provisions.