Indian Railways goes green like never before – from electric locomotives to use of solar power; top 5 steps

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Published: June 7, 2019 4:36:36 PM

From the installation of bio-toilets to the electrification of railway tracks, the national transporter is making great strides over the last few years to enhance make the network environment-friendly.

railways Indian Railways is taking various steps in a bid to promote a green environment and renewable energy.

Indian Railways goes green! Piyush Goyal-chaired Ministry of Railways is taking various steps in a bid to promote a green environment and renewable energy. From the installation of bio-toilets to the electrification of railway tracks, the national transporter is making great strides over the last few years to enhance make the network environment-friendly. Besides, Indian Railways being a major consumer of energy, several systematic programs have also been launched towards improving energy efficiency as well as energy conservation. These include the use of renewable sources of energy along with alternative fuels in its energy mix. Let us take a look at 5 major eco-friendly measures of Indian Railways:

1) Electric locomotives: Last year, the national transporter got its first ever 12,000 HP electric locomotive from Alstom. This was part of a ‘Make in India’ deal, worth 3.5 billion euros. The electric locomotive marked a significant milestone in Indian Railways’ bid to go green and reducing the carbon footprint. Also, for the first time, a diesel locomotive was converted to electric by the Diesel Locomotive Works (DLW) in Varanasi, last year. The converted locomotive delivers 10,000 HP against 2 X 2612 HP of two diesel locomotive, that is 92 per cent more than the older locomotive. Also, the Chittaranjan Locomotive Works (CLW) also rolled out a 5,400 HP electric locomotive with an aerodynamic design to haul premium superfast trains including Gatimaan Express, Shatabdi Express, and Rajdhani Express.

2) CNG substitution: One of the several Indian Railways’ go green initiatives include Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) substitution. According to a PIB release issued by the Ministry of Railways in the month of January 2019, the national transporter had undertaken 20 per cent CNG substitution in diesel engines of as many as 23 Diesel Power Cars of Diesel Electric Multiple Unit (DEMU) trains along with the introduction of solar energy based DEMUs.

3) Bio-Toilets: Over the last few years, Indian Railways has installed several bio-toilets in train coaches while paying attention to hygiene and cleanliness. Last year, Goyal announced that by this year, Indian Railways will have 100 per cent bio-toilets in trains, making railway tracks free of open defecation and hence improving the overall environment. According to the minister, defecation on rail tracks is not only unhygienic but also unsafe as the tracks are damaged because of the uric acid, causing accidents.

4) Solar energy: Indian Railways is also installing solar panels over rooftops at railway stations and service buildings. Earlier this year, Indian Railways planned to install 1000 Mega Watt (MW) solar power by 2020-2021, claiming that the move would help the national transporter to source about 10 per cent of its electrical energy from renewable source. Several stations have recently started making use of solar energy including Hazrat Nizamuddin, New Delhi railway station and Anand Vihar Terminal. Moreover, in 2017, Indian Railways flagged off the first ever solar-powered DEMU train from Delhi’s Safdarjung station.

5) Greener and energy-efficient stations: Indian Railways is turning its stations’ greener and cleaner by planting trees. Also, several railway stations have been provided with vertical gardens as well as plastic bottle crushers to reduce the number of waste plastic bottles. Additionally, LED lights are being installed at stations for the conservation of energy. In January 2019, Indian Railways claimed to have installed 100 per cent LED luminaries on all electrified stations except those under gauge conversion as well as on 99 per cent of service buildings.

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