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What’s in news?

Recently, the Railway department announces conversion of 1000 diesel engine to electrical engine by 2022 will be economical and environment friendly.

Key data:

  • All over the country, there are 5,868 diesel engines are available which cost up to Rs.1Lcrore and buying new electrical engines equally, will cost up to Rs.1.5crore.
  • Rather than scrapping these diesel engines, and buying of new electrical engines, it is advisable to convert the diesel to electric engines in phase manner.
  • In Varanasi, a 2,600Hp powered diesel locomotive was converted to 5,000Hp electric locomotive which running successfully which cost Rs.2.5Cr.
  • Out of 61,680 km of broad cage tracks, 50% were electrified. If the train operate through electrical engines will benefit rather than using diesel engines in this tracks.
  • Operating the trains through, electrical engines will save up to Rs.3000crore annually and can save the fuel required. This will result in environment friendly.

Kinds of railway tracks:

  • Meter Gauge: The distance between the railway tracks are 1m. these lines were introduced to reduce the cost. Also, simpler engineering permitted sharp turns in hilly regions.
  • Broad Gauge: t’s width is 1676mm. The broad gauge line is the most widely used in India. It is also called Indian Gauge and is the broadest gauge in operation in the world. The first railway line built in India was broad gauge line from Bori Bunder to Thane in 1853.
  • Narrow Gauge: Its width is 610mm and 762mm. India has two different narrow gauge systems. Narrow gauge lines were also constructed for cost considerations, and because simpler engineering permitting sharp turns in hilly regions.
  • Standard Gauge: Its width is 1435 mm and 1451 mm. In India, standard gauge is used only for urban rail transit systems such as metro, monorail and trams. Until 2010, the only standard gauge line in India was the Kolkata tram system. All the upcoming metro lines in the urban areas would be built only in standard gauge as it is easier to acquire rolling stock for standard gauge than for Indian gauge.

Project Unigauge:

  • Project Unigauge”was started in 1991 that seeks to standardise the rail gauges in India by converting almost the entire metre gauge and narrow gauge tracks to broad gauge track.
  • Few metre gauge and narrow gauge tracks on which heritage trains run in hilly regions like Shimla, Darjeeling, Ooty, Matheran would not be converted into broad gauge.

Hydrogen locomotive, an newly invented alternative:

  • World’s first hydrogen train rolls out in Germany in Sep,2018 and had its first scheduled trip from the station of Bremervörde in Lower Saxony
  • The new trains carry a hydrogen tank and fuel cells on the roof, and produce electricity by combining hydrogen and oxygen. Excess energy is stored in ion lithium batteries. The engines can run for around 1,000 kilometers without refueling and reach a maximum speed 140 kilometers per hour (87 miles per hour), similar to diesel trains.
  • Hydrogen trains produce only steam and liquid water.
  • Even it cost high than the diesel engines, hydrogen engines are easy to run.


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