New factories to double railways freight-pulling power

By Sudheer Pal Singh  |

India’s Rs 8,500-crore railway locomotives market is set for a mega upheaval with the government awarding the contracts for the Madhepura and Marhowra factories to General Electric (GE) and Alstom in a Rs 36,000-crore deal — the country’s first foreign direct investment (FDI) in the rail sector.

Once commissioned over the next two to three years, the two factories to come up in Bihar would supply 200 locomotives of 6,000 horsepower (HP) and 12,000 HP annually to Indian Railways, adding to the existing supply of 650 locos of 4,000-6,000 HP.

“That translates into more than doubling the trailing-load-capacity of freight trains without having to use extra engines per train,” said R Sivadasan, former Railway Board financial commissioner, who had overseen the preliminary discussions on the Bihar projects.

Trailing load refers to the maximum tonnage volume that can be hauled by a freight train and it depends on the propulsion strength of the locomotive being used. Indian Railways’ freight trains currently carry a maximum trailing load of 3,900 tonnes.

“The new 12,000-HP engines will catapult this capacity to an average 10,000 tonnes per train — similar to Chinese railways,” Sivadasan added. More info

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