Boost for Make in India: PM Modi to flag off first 12,000 HP electric locomotive

By Elton Gomes

On April 10, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will flag off India’s first 12,000 horsepower (HP) electric locomotive. The powerful new freight train will be flagged off from the Madhepura locomotive factory in Bihar.

The launch of the 12,000 HP locomotive will place India along side Russia, China, Germany, and Sweden, all of whom possess the locomotive. It is capable of a maximum speed of 110 km per hour, and it is expected to boost rail transport by improving the speed and carrying capacity of freight trains.

Boost to PM Modi’s Make in India initiative

In a boost to PM Narendra Modi’s Make in India scheme, in March 2018, the Indian government finalised a deal with French transport company Alstom. The joint project involves the  manufacturing of 795 locomotives. However, the first five freight trains are slated to be imported.

The joint venture marks a significant boost to PM Narendra Modi’s Make in India campaign. Credit: Pixabay

Henri-Poupart Lafarge, CEO of Alstom, said in a statement, “Our operations in India are paramount to our business globally and we continue to stay committed to developing India’s infrastructure needs, improving the quality of services to citizens and investing in the nation’s economy.”

As per the deal, the locomotives were manufactured and assembled at Alstom’s factory in Bihar’s Madhepura, which indicates a significant victory for the Indian Railways’s bid to go green and reduce its carbon footprint.

The locomotives will have to be maintained over a period of 11 years. The factory in Bihar is estimated to build 100 electric engines every year, starting from the year 2021-22.

What are the features of the locomotive?

The eastern division of the Indian Railways tested the new locomotive in March 2018. It has the ability to achieve speeds up to 120 kilometres per hour, and it can haul up to 6,000 tonnes of cargo.

According to Alstom, the locomotive uses low voltage cables and is fitted with LED lamps, thereby making it a “green loco.” Moreover, the freight train has been designed keeping in mind India’s humidity and extreme temperatures.

Alstom further states that the electric locomotive is equipped with IGBT (Insulated Gate Bipolar Transistors)-based propulsion technology, which is designed to ensure lower energy consumption by making use of regenerative braking, the Financial Express reported.

Focus on skill development

The Alstom-Indian Railways project is an important joint venture between France and India. Alstom’s factory at Madhepura is looking to build on skill development and community action.

Alain Spohr, Managing Director of Alstom India & South Asia told the Financial Express, “Our localised footprint will continue to be the driving force behind our operations in India. Our emphasis towards skill development and community action in Madhepura will be ongoing.”

AlstomMake in IndiaNarendra Modi