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Railway Electrification-Path Towards Development

  • Map for Railway Electrification on Indian Railways

    • railway electrification map
  • Brief History of Railway Electrification in Indian Railways

    • Train on electric traction started on 1500 V DC System from Bombay Victoria Terminus to Kurla Harbour on 3 February 1925. This was later extended to all the suburban section of the Western and Central Railway. Madras was the second metro city to get electric traction in the Southern Railway on 11 May 1931.Before Independence, India had 388 km of electrified zone.

      Post-independence electrification of the Howrah-Burdwan section was carried out at 3000 volt DC. EMU services was started in Howrah-Sheoraphuli section by Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru on 14 December.

      Production of Electric locomotives was simultaneously taken up indigenously at Chittaranjan Locomotive Works (CLW) in 1960 and the first 1500 v DC electric locomotive for Bombay Area "Lokmanya" was flagged off on 14.10.1961 by Pt. Jawahar Lal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of India.

      25000 Volts Alternating Current traction System (25 KV AC): Keeping in line with international standards for electric traction 25 kV AC system was adopted in IR in 1961. French National Railways (SNCF) provided initial technical assistance and consultancy.

      In the wake of industrial development in the Eastern region and growth in freight traffic which could not be managed by steam traction, electrification was introduced in early 1960s from Raj Kharswan to Dongoaposi on the South Eastern Railway. With a view to provide continuity of traction system, the Howrah — Burdwan section of the Eastern Railway and Madras Beach — Tambaram section of the Southern Railway were converted to the 25 kV AC system by 1968.

      On the recommendation of the J.Raj Committee report in 1978, a number of electrification works were taken up in IR. A dedicated and specialised organisation for execution of Railway Electrification projects was created. Thus , Central Organisation for Railway Electrification (CORE) came into being at Nagpur, which was later shifted to Allahabad. A regular General Manager was posted in CORE from July 1987 onwards.

  • Policy Objectives

    • In order to control spiralling fuel bill, reduce dependence on imported fossil oil, increase energy security of the nation, reduce pollution, improve operational efficiency and operating ratio of IR, it is imperative that electrification is accorded priority in Railways. With this objective, a target for electrification of 10000 route kilometre has been set to be achieved within next 5 years from 2015-16 to 2019-20.

      Benefits of Electrification:

      • Electrification of Indian Railways as a powerful measure to achieve cost effectiveness.

      • Traction Economy-Reduction in Operating Cost

      In terms of Line Haul Cost (Summary of End Results 2013-14), electric traction is cheaper by about 45% for freight traffic & 47% cheaper for coaching traffic, as compared to diesel traction. This is evident from the table given below:-

      Line haul cost per thousand GTKM as per Summary of End Results 2013-14
      Freight Coaching
      Diesel Electric Diesel Electric
      Line Haul cost per thousand GTKM (in Rs.) 278.20 131.20 399.92 178.92

      • 65.4% of freight traffic and 51.2% of passenger traffic is hauled on 39.2 % of electrified network presently. The fuel expense on electric traction is only 36.32 % of the total fuel bill of IR.

      • Electric traction is more economical and play a vital role in improving the Operating Ratio.

      • 1.1.2 System Capacity Enhancement

      • Electric traction improves the throughput and section capacity by about 15%, as it enables haulage of heavier freight and longer passenger trains at higher speed.

      • Green & Clean Energy

      • Electrical traction can use alternate and non-conventional sources of clean energy, such as solar and wind energy sources.

      • Regenerative energy produced in Three-Phase Electrical rolling stock during the braking of trains, results in saving in energy consumption by about 30%.

      • Contribution of electric traction of the currently electrified tracks towards reduction in green house gas (GHG) emission is 3.36 million tonne carbon equivalents per year.

      • The environmental cost of electric traction, based on cost of abatement of green house gas emissions, is 0.015 for electric traction and 0.051for diesel traction.

      • In a study conducted by TERI, electric traction is found to be about three times more energy efficient than diesel traction.

  • Policy Initiatives

    • In order to achieve fuel economy and also to enhance traffic output, it has been decided to accelerate the pace of Railway electrification. As against a sanction of 462 route kms in 2014-15, a length of 6,608 route kilometers has been sanctioned for 2015-16.

  • Railway Electrification

    • Railway Electrification-At A Glance
      Total Route kilometers (RKM) on Indian Railways as on 31.03.15 65808
      Route kilometers electrified as on 31.03.15 26269
      Percentage RKM electrified 39.92%
      Goods traffic hauled by electric traction 65.40%
      Coaching traffic hauled by electric traction 51.20%
      Total traction fuel bill (RE 2014-15)(diesel + Electric) Rs. 30195 crore
      Fuel expenses on electric traction (RE 2014-15)(goods + coaching) Rs. 10968 crore (36.32% of total IR fuel bill)
      Railway Electrification Trends

      Railway Electrification line graph
      Plan wise Progress of Electrification
      Progress of Electrification - bar chart


      • Conversion of DC to AC Traction system completed on entire Western Railway. (Feb’2012)

      • On Central Railway, DC to AC conversion work between Kalyan to Thane (exclusive) & Thane (exclusive) to Lokmanya Tilak Terminus (via 5th & 6th line) has been completed & dedicated to the Nation by Hon’ble MR on 24.01.2014.

      • Balance on main line from Kurla to Chatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CSTM) has been commissioned on 25 KV AC Traction and dedicated to the Nation by Hon’ble Minister for Railways on 9th June 2015.

      • It will reduce cost of operation by Rs. 72 crore per annum apart from improving speed and sectional capacity.

      DC-AC COnversion Project of Mumbai Division(Main Line Operation)

      DC-AC COnversion Project Chart

      Growth of Electrification

      Actual Achievements (in RKM) Targets for next 5 Years
      2012-13 2013-14 2014-15 2015-16 2016-17 2017-18 2018-19 2019-20 Total
      1317 1350 1375 1600 1800 2000 2200 2400 10000

      Railway Electrification Projects Sanction Trends
      Sanction Trends - line chart

      Railway Electrification Image
      Railway Electrification Image

      Railway Electrification Image
      Railway Electrification Image

      Action Taken:

      Steps Taken to Improve Project Delivery

      • Bringing in Efficiency through modernisation in Railway Electrification:

      • Self Propelled Wiring Train: for simultaneous stringing of Catenary and Contact Wires

      • Self Propelled Multi Utility cum-Mast Erection Vehicle: for efficiency and reduction of Block time

      • EPC Contract on a pilot basis: Delhi-Rewari-Jaipur-Phulera-Ajmer RE work on EPC Contract. Bidders short listed. Financial Bid document to be issued

      • Delegation of tender acceptance power to General

  • New Technological Developments in Electric Traction

    • 2X25,000 Volts OHE system against 25,000 Volt OHE system on Eastern and Western DFC to reduce number of TSS and increase number of trains in the section.
      High rise OHE of 7.5 mts to carry double stack container traffic Western DFC
      Tower Car with Measuring & Recording Instruments: for predictive maintenance of OHE.
      Mechanized Wiring Train for Railway Electrification

      2X25 KV SYSTEM


      • Higher hauling capacity
      • Increased Traction Substation spacing at 60-80 km apart against existing spacing of 40 km.
      • Higher OHE current carrying capacity due to doubling of voltage (50kV).
      • Improved voltage regulation and reduced transmission line losses
      • Seamless running of locomotives from 1×25 kV to 2×25 kV system.

      HIGH RISE OHE(7.57 M)

      • Required for double stack container operations with electric traction.
      • Successful trials done in ECoR with OHE height as 7.45 meter Pantograph also suitably modified.
      • Normal OHE height is 5.5 meter. Complete Western DFC is with high rise OHE.
      • On Indian Railway routes, high rise OHE being provided in Gurgaon-Mehsana, Jaipur-Phulera, Rewari-Ludhiana. Total 1188 RKM.

      Self-Propelled Wiring Train
      For simultaneous stringing of catenary & contact wire. Will increase the pace of electrification

      Self Propelled Mast Erection Vehicle

      (for predictive maintenance)

      • For measurement and recording of vital OHE parameters like contact wire height, stagger, implantation, gradient etc.
      • Likely failure locations identified and timely corrective action taken.