Indian Railways has planned to operate 35 hydrogen-powered trains on various heritage and hilly routes in India. The trains under ‘Hydrogen for Heritage’ will run at an estimated cost of Rs 80 crores per train while the cost of ground infrastructure will be Rs 70 crores.
Addressing the media on Wednesday after the announcement of the Union Budget 2023, Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said that the hydrogen train will first roll out on heritage circuits such as the Kalka-Shimla route and its likes by December’23. Later, the train will be expanded on other routes. The Union Minister added that the train will be fully designed and manufactured in India.
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Running cost of Hydrogen-powered trains in India:
The national transporter has not yet established the running cost of the hydrogen-fuel-based train in the country. However, it is expected that the initial running cost of these trains will be higher and will subsequently reduce with an increase in the number of trains.
The railways have also awarded a pilot project for retro fitment of a Hydrogen Fuel cell on an existing Diesel Electric Multiple Unit (DEMU) rake along with ground infrastructure at the cost of Rs 111.83 crores. The first field trials of the prototype are expected to be commenced in Northern Railway’s Jind –Sonipat section in the FY 2023-24.
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The operation of the hydrogen-powered train is in line with the government’s green growth mission. In the Union Budget 2023-24, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman stressed on national hydrogen mission. The use of Hydrogen as fuel will provide larger benefits in the direction of green transportation technology to support zero carbon emission goals as a clean energy source.
Indian Railways has been allocated a capital outlay of Rs 2.41 lakh crore for the next fiscal. The allocation is about nine times the outlay made since 2013-14.