Diesel-run trains will soon become history: Piyush Goyal

Diesel-run trains will soon become history in India, railway minister Piyush Goyal has said. Phasing out diesel locomotives and replacing them with electric engines will help the country reduce carbon emissions and help the Railways save ₹10,500 crore annually, he said.

“We don’t want to burden our passengers and freight customers by raising costs. Through bringing efficiency in the existing system, we can reduce operational costs and provide better services to our users,” Goyal said at a Ficci event. “We’ll only use diesel locomotives for back up.”

The Railways has fast-tracked plans to have a 100% electrified rail network. The national transporter is targeting to electrify the remaining 30,000 kilometres of rail lines in the next four years, at an expected cost of ₹30,000-35,000 crore. The government is targeting to build an 11,000-km-long high-speed network, the minister said.

“We’ve identified routes where most of the traffic moves. We’ll work on a plan to convert them into high speed. Because of the large scale of the projects, the cost of construction of bullet-train corridors will also reduce,” he said.

Goyal added that he would like to continue with the proven and accident-free Japanese high-speed train technology, instead of going for Chinese technology.

On using renewable energy for railway operations, Goyal said whatever vacant land the Railways has would soon turn into solar parks. “I’m asking companies to set up solar plants on our land. This will also ensure that no future encroachment happens on the rail land,” while helping provide cheap electricity, he said.

The Railways is planning to generate 4,000 MW of power through renewable sources. The minister said he wanted the Railways to monetise its own assets instead of it depending on budgetary allocations from the finance ministry.

No comments: