The Railway Ministry has approved Alstom-built 12,000-horsepower (HP) electric locomotives to run freight trains at a maximum speed of 120 kmph, a statement from the French company said on October 14. Earlier in the year, the railways had inducted WAG 12B electric locomotives, the most powerful ones to run on Indian tracks, according to the company.
These locomotives have clocked over 1 million kilometres, providing a significant fillip to the country's freight logistics sector. "In line with India's push towards self-reliance, we have successfully leveraged our local engineering and manufacturing capabilities. Alstom is also committed to support IR in reducing its carbon footprint and adopt cleaner technologies in its quest to transform into the world's largest Green Railway network," Alain Spohr, managing director of Alstom India and South Asia, said.
"Equipped with insulated gate bipolar transistors-based propulsion technology, it would lead to considerable savings in energy consumption due to the use of regenerative braking. The technology is also helpful towards making the acceleration process more efficient by reducing the heat generation and traction noise. Additionally, the move will not only bring down the operational costs, but also reduce the congestion faced by the Indian Railways," he added.
Electric locos allow heavy freight trains to haul 6,000 tonnes at a top speed of 120 kmph. Planned to be deployed for operations on major freight routes of the railways, including the dedicated freight corridors (DFCs), they are expected to increase the average speed of freight trains in the country by at least 20-25 kmph, the company said.
Despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, with the advent of Unlock 1.0, Alstom restarted significant production at all its manufacturing facilities, ensuring all necessary permissions and adhering to government protocols. The company's focus is to give maximum support and protection to all teams and workforce in the present adverse situation, it said in a statement.
Alstom has four industrial sites in the states of Bihar (Madhepura), Andhra Pradesh (SriCity), Tamil Nadu (Coimbatore) and West Bengal (Kolkata). India also houses the largest engineering centre for Alstom outside France in Karnataka (Bengaluru). Additionally, Alstom has a localised sourcing and supply chain to the extent that over 75 percent of its projects are built from indigenous materials, the statement said.