Indian Railways’ move to electrify the country’s broad-gauge network by 2023-24 is nearing completion. The national transporter has electrified 80% of its network, a significant step that would decrease diesel consumption and save hundreds of crores in taxpayer money each year.
The Railways is working on a mission mode on its Mission 100% Electrification: Moving Towards Net Zero Carbon Emission plan. The Railways had said in June 2021 that electrification had increased nearly 10 times since 2014.
Recently, Konkan Railway Corporation completed electrification on its entire 741-km route between Roha (Maharashtra) and Thokur (Karnataka). Konkan Railway connects Mumbai with Mangalore. The line passes through Maharashtra, Goa, and Karnataka along India’s west coast. South Central Railway also announced the electrification of 163 km railway lines on various sections in Andhra Pradesh.
In 2020-21, Indian Railways electrified 6,015 route km, the highest ever, despite the challenges posed by Covid-19. India’s total broad-gauge network stands at 64,689 route km, while electrification had been completed on 52,247 route km, as on April 3. In the past three years, the Railways electrified 34% of the network.
In a recent order, the Railway Board directed that all electrification would be sanctioned with 2×25 kV traction system only, an upgrade from the 1×25 kV traction system in place. Such traction systems are prevalent in Japan, China, South Africa, and France to operate high-speed passenger trains.
While all new electrification work will be completed on 2×25 kV traction, previously electrified routes might also be converted in a phased manner, depending on the need.
The doubling of power line capacity is expected to ensure smooth operation of newer trains such as the Vande Bharat Express. Last year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced that 75 Vande Bharat trains would be run across various routes by Independence Day 2023.