Indian Railways is undergoing a transformational overhaul, with Sri Piyush Goyal, Hon’ble minister for Railways setting the ambitious development agenda on move, with bold decisions to improve the system.
According to an estimate, Indian Railways will save around Rs. 13,000 Crore per annum in fuel bill and reduce carbon emission by 3.4 million tonnes a year, if the entire rail network in the country stands electrified. Electrification, coupled with increased use of solar power is bound to keep the railways on course to attain the vision of Prime Minister towards a clean and green energy based India.The Chairman Railway Board, Ashwani Lohani has also been opining that electrification of railway lines can be one major potential area for reducing expenditure of the National transporter. The interesting fact is, while around two-thirds of freight and over half of passenger traffic of Indian Railways is carried on the electric traction, the energy expenses due to electricity consumption remain at 37%, which signify the cost effectiveness of electrification for Indian Railways.
Seeking to give the concrete shape to the plans for Indian Railways, the cabinet committee on economic affairs chaired by Shri Narendra Modi appoved a plan to electrify the remaining around 13,000 route kilometres of railway lines at a cost of Rs.12,134.50 Crore, to target completion of electrification of the entire Indian Railway network by 2021-22. The Central Organization for Railway Electrification (CORE) which is tasked with the completion of electrification of rail tracks over Indian Railways has been undertaking the job with renewed momentum in the last few years.
From the time, Sri Piyush Goyal took charge at Rail Bhavan, the stress towards speeding up electrification projects has taken the number one slot in the priority list for Indian Railways. With the Minister also holding charge of the energy sector, decision making too became easy.
SCR Accords Top Priority for Electrification
South Central Railway has taken to electrification of its network on a priority basis. At present, out of the total length of 5992 route kilometre of its network, 3250 route kilometres stand electrified, which is sizeably over 50%. In terms of individual states covered by the zone, out of a total route kilometre length of 2839.25 in Andhra Pradesh, over 2112 route kilometres stand electrified, while in the case of Telangana,886.35 route kilometres is electrified out of 936.32 route kilometres. The zone has lent a big push to electrification projects, targeting completion and commissioning of various projects during the last two years. The strategic 228.32 kms Wadi – Guntakal section of the Mumbai – Chennai rail route saw commissioning in 2017, which totally altered the operational dimension of the section. Providing seamless connectivity to trains all the way from Bengaluru to New Delhi set the benefits in motion. The big gain was in terms of increasing the freight carrying might of the zone, with a host of cement companies located in the region, getting to benefit by a more assured avenue of transport to their produce.
Amongst the other sections electrified during 2017-18 on South Central Railway are, the Guntur – Guntakal stretch which was commissioned in various phases during the year. The Nallapadu – Siripuram, 17.50 route kilometre section, Mathampalli – Janpahad section of 20kms and a 12.70kms length between Malkajgiri – Bolarum of MMTS Phase-II project were also executed, bringing the total length commissioned during 2017-18 to 607.80 route kilometres, a record.
Shri Vinod Kumar Yadav, General Manager, South Central Railway who can be credited for the zone’s excellent record in execution of electrification projects has taken the success achieved, as the yardstick for fresh challenges. He has underlined an ambitious plan for targeting commissioning of electrification works in 2018-19 for the zone. While a total of 1267 route kilometres have been sanctioned for electrification in 2018-19, a total length of 563 route kilometres is planned for commissioning during the year. The important rail sections as Guntakal – Kalluru, Guntakal – Toranagallu, Nallapadu – Pagidipalli, Peddapalli – Lingampet – Jagityal, Manmad – Mudkhed – Dhone, Obulavaripalli – Krishnapatnam and various suburban sections under MMTS Phase – II in Hyderabad city are slated for commissioning. The Rail Vikas Nigam Limited (RVNL) is the executing agency for several of these projects, while CORE is handling some. In case of the Nallapadu – Guntakal section, the Nallapadu – Diguvametta (209km), Guntakal – Dhone & Gooty – Pendekallu (97km) and Dhone – Diguvametta (129km) already been commissioned. The Nallapadu – Pagidipalli work is fast under progress with the contractors M/s TATA projects going strong to meet deadlines. In terms of Manmad – Mudkhed – Dhone section, the tender is under finalization as of now.
The new rail sections of SCR which have been sanctioned during 2018-19 are the Lingampet Jagityal – Nizamabad (95 route kilometres, costing Rs.80.29 crore) in Telangana; Vikarabad – Parli Vaijanath (269 route kilometres, costing Rs.262.12 crore) covering Telangana, Karnataka and Maharashtra; Pimpilkutti – Mudkhed and Parbhani – Parli Vaijanath ( 246 route kilometres, costing Rs.224.17 crore) in Telangana and Maharashtra; Gadwal – Raichur (57 route kilometres, costing Rs.46.10 crore) in Telangana and Karnataka; Tenali – Repalle (34 route kilometres, costing Rs.25.98 crore) in Andhra Pradesh; Nandyal – Yerraguntla (123 route kilometres, costing Rs. 111.48 crore) in Andhra Pradesh; Dharmavaram – Pakala (228 route kilometres, costing Rs. 210.47 crore) in Andhra Pradesh and Purna – Akola ( 209 route kilometres, costing Rs. 211.58 crore) in Maharashtra.
The road map further for the zone envisages taking up electrification for the remaining length of around 2240 route kilometres on the zone, for which survey work is on and a deadline is set to achieve 100% electrification by 2021-22. The initiative for speedy implementation of works, draws strength from the preliminary task such as foot by foot survey, preparation of plans, power supply diagrams, identifying locations for switching stations, maintenance depots, tower wagon sidings, discussions with state TRANSCO authorities for power supply to traction sub stations, civil engineering, signal and telecommunication engineering requirements etc. The General Manager, Vinod Kumar Yadav spelt the need for pro active involvement of railway officials at divisional levels and close coordination with the electrification authorities. Bringing in a whiff of fresh transformational air into the working culture of SCR, the General Manager has laid stress on completion of pre electrification works such as pre cast concrete foundation blocks along the track on identified sections plan for electrification. To fast track the civil work, mechanization for foundation digging and mast erection has been put to use. A pre arranged schedule for traffic blocks in sections where the work is planned is drawn, wherein the workforce are mobilized in big numbers and modern tools and machinery is extensively used, so as to increase the work productivity.