Make in India boost for Indian Railways! The rail infrastructure of the country is all set to be upgraded with Piyush Goyal-led Indian Railways confirming the acceptance of GE’s 4,500 horsepower diesel-electric Evolution Series prototype locomotives. Following the locomotive handover in February 2018, this has been achieved after the successful completion of rigorous testing on Indian Railways. The national transporter accepted the locomotives after months of reviewing key design aspects, documentation and a thorough validation around various parameters in the United States and in India. Also, the 4500 HP locomotives completed additional reviews including oscillation trials and rating and performance tests.
According to GE Transportation, the new units have been provided with an Evolution Series engine as well as an electronic fuel injection system for improved fuel efficiency. The company also claimed that the individual axle-control AC propulsion technology will improve hauling capability and also it will decrease life-cycle cost. The locomotives have also been digitally enabled for predictive analytics to increase availability and reliability.
The locomotives are part of an agreement, worth $2.5 billion, which was signed in the year 2015 in support of Modi government’s Make in India initiative. The agreement included an order for 1,000 locomotives and also the establishment of a new GE Transportation factory as well as maintenance sheds in the country.
GE Transportation claimed that the project is on track and so far, it has achieved several key milestones. At present, there are as many as 45 locomotives in the country that are ready for inspection and acceptance by the Indian Railways.
Meanwhile, the state-of-the-art Roza Maintenance Shed of GE Transportation in Uttar Pradesh is ready for operations and the construction work of the factory in Marhowra, Bihar is in advanced stages towards completion. The Operations in the factory are likely to start in the fourth quarter of 2018. Once the factory becomes fully functional, all locomotives manufactured in Marhowra as per the agreement will have 70% localized content. Other than manufacturing, maintenance and monitoring of diesel locomotives, both Marhowra and Roza are also likely to generate employment and skills development across the region.