Getting on the bullet train of trending Electric Vehicles (EVs) that are making huge waves in the automotive industry is nothing new to hear.
EVs are gaining much more traction in every part of the world since they represent the best next-gen alternative of fuels, thereby, setting new low carbon targets in the locomotive field.
And with an acute focus of world leaders on climate change issue, the entry of Railways electrification at this stage is not surprising to see since railways are a huge part of people’s travel option for longer distances.
Specifically for the developing country like India, the Railways industry plays a central role in the rapid transition towards low-carbon transport, since it comes under the most preferable mode of transport.
Need for Indian Railways Electrification comes up to meet international climate targets to reduce the carbon concentration released in the environment discharged during their running time.
Since Indian Railways has always been a big source of income as well as a bulk recruiter that comes under government jurisdiction, there seems to be an urgent requirement to transform this public transport to be electric.
However, as the popular saying goes, ‘Nothing worth having comes easy.’ So, to make Indian Railways Electrification a reality, we first need to understand some important aspects of India’s current railway system and how electrification is the current need of the hour.
Current Scenario of Indian Railways System
Regarded as the most preferred mode of transport for shorter as well as long-distance travel among Indians, the Railways industry has been thriving in India since its introduction in 1853.
The first successful train ran between Bori Bunder in Mumbai and Thane for a distance of 34 km constructed on the command of Britishers that were ruling India at that time.
However, even after 75 years of independence, the craze of Indian railways is still at its peak that is leaving air as well as road transport far behind in the dust.
And since the transport handles millions of passengers every day, the number of trains running on diesel on daily basis is massive.
This led to our next round of questions as to why Indian Railways Electrification is such a big deal in the upcoming years.
Let’s take a look!
Need for Indian Railways Electrification
As discussed above, since world leaders put a great emphasis on railway electrification, the Government of India also started to promote as well redirect the people to adopt EVs that in turn, would help India reduce its reliance on fossil fuels and achieve energy security simultaneously.
And since Indian Railway Electrification comes under government jurisdiction, GoI started the switch towards electrification at a rapid pace.
In India, both environmental, as well as economic conditions, played a key role in the drive to rush Indian Railways Electrification.
The need to rush Indian Railways Electrification came up since many trains in India were still running on diesel, which is not only a source of carbon emissions but also contributes to air pollution by releasing toxic nitrogen compounds and fine particles into the atmosphere that goes on to settle inside people’s lungs, therefore, turning it into breathing issues.
The move for Indian Railways Electrification will also affect India’s economy since it would enable the railway mode of transportation, to become faster, more eco-friendly and energy-efficient.
Targets Achieved so Far
The government of India had pledged strongly to achieve the target of Indian Railways Electrification by 2023, a few years back.
At that time, Indian Railways predicted that these plans would also help the Government to save about 1.3 billion pounds per year on fuel bills.
And what an astonishing result this move brought on in merely 3 years!
According to the recent report, the Government has already achieved about 66% of its overall target set by them and is now aiming to position itself as a world leader in sustainable rail transport. Since India holds the position of having the second largest railway network in the whole world that is just behind China.
To testify GoI efforts in the last few years to achieve Indian Railways Electrification, let’s take a look at some of the most renowned electrified routes that were made in recent years, including:
- Mumbai-Howrah via Jabalpur
- Jabalpur-Nainpur-Gondia- Ballarshah
- Gorakhpur-Varanasi via Aunrihar
- New Delhi-New Coochbehar-Srirampur Assam via Patna & Katihar
As we are moving to the cusp of 2021, we have witnessed India’s growth as it has come a long way in the technology world, and is now aiming to show its presence internationally in achieving the climate change targets.
If the government manages to meet its set deadline of 2023 in Indian Railways Electrification, this will prove India’s strong leadership and implementation success at a global stage.