Indian Railways launches its first 1,600 HHP solar diesel multiple unit train in Haryana

Derailment continues, Rajadhani express derails near Delhi station. Representational picture.

New Delhi,July15:Indian Railways on Friday has launched its first 1,600 HHP solar diesel multiple unit (DEMU) train on Friday.

The new rake built at Integral Coach Factory (ICF) in Chennai have a life of 25 years and will have a capacity of 89 people per coach and will start operations from Saturday.

There are two motor coaches and eight passenger coaches in the ten-coach train. The total cost of the train is Rs 13.54 crore with the passenger coaches costing around Rs 1 crore each and the two motor coaches costing Rs 2.5 each. The solar panels on six coaches cost Rs 9 lakh each.

 Cushioned seats have been provided along with a display board in each coach.

The train will travel from Delhi’s Sarai Rohilla to Garhi Harsaru Junction in Haryana. It will replace an existing non-solar powered rake on the same route.

The fare for the journey that takes one and a half hour will not change.

The train has a total of 16 solar panels of 300 watts in each coach. The energy generated by these panels will be stored in batteries and will be used during the night.

The move is expected to save Rs 2 lakh worth of diesel per coach, per annum. It will help in reducing carbon dioxide of almost nine tonnes per coach, per annum. It is also expected to save nearly Rs 672 crore per annum.

Speaking at the launch at the Safdarjung railway station, Union Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu said it was a “path-breaking leap” towards making trains more environment-friendly.

Referring to the Railways commitment to using cleaner fuels, Mr. Prabhu said it was trying to increase the use of non-conventional sources of energy.

Also, the carrier is taking on several other environment-friendly measures like using bio-toilets, water-recycling, waste disposal, CNG and LNG, and harnessing wind energy.

Normally, DEMU trains — a multiple-unit train powered by on-board engines without a separate locomotive — provide power for its passenger comfort system, i.e. lights and fans, from a diesel-driven generator.

Route to be planned soon

The first rake of the train will be put in commercial service over the suburban railway system of Delhi division shortly. A route will be decided soon, said officials.

While the 1,600 horsepower train has been manufactured at the Integral Coach Factory (ICF) in Chennai, its solar system and panels have been developed and fitted by the Indian Railways Organization of Alternative Fuel (IROAF). Twenty-four more coaches will be fitted with this system within six months.

The IROAF has developed this system with a smart inverter, which optimises power generation on a moving train to cater to full load even during night hours with the help of a battery bank that ensures sufficient electricity.

The system reduces diesel consumption and the carbon signature of these commuter trains by reducing carbon dioxide generation by 9 tonnes per coach per year.

A solar-powered DEMU train with six trailer coaches will save about 21,000 litres of diesel, thereby saving Rs12 lakh every year, the Railways added.