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May, 27

How Indian Railways aims to save 2 lakh liters diesel a day with electrification of pit lines; move towards carbon neutrality

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Indian Railways is aiming to achieve substantial fuel savings of around 200,000 liters of diesel daily, by electrifying its entire network of pit lines, according to an ET report. These pit lines serve as critical points where train coaches undergo electrical equipment inspections such as lights, fans, and mobile charging points, before embarking on their subsequent journeys.

The move is in line with Indian Railways’ ambitious objective of attaining carbon neutrality by 2030. A senior government official shared with ET that the endeavor entails transitioning away from conventional fossil fuels, embracing grid electrification for all 411 maintenance pits by December 2023. Notably, the electrification process has already been concluded for 302 pits.
Official estimates project substantial cost savings of 70-80% through pit line electrification, compared to the existing head-on-generation (HOG-compliant) LHB rakes. This strategic shift is poised to yield annual revenues exceeding Rs 450 crore.

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The compelling rationale behind this transformation is underscored by the considerable financial outlay associated with diesel-powered rakes. These rakes are expected to have an annual recurring expenditure of over Rs 668 crore, with an anticipated 20% growth owing to diesel inflation and an expansion in the LHB fleet size.
An internal review by the national transporter, conducted in 2022, highlighted the significant diesel consumption—184,000 liters each day—attributed to the maintenance of Linke Hofmann Busch (LHB) rakes at pit lines. The requirement for diesel generators to sustain operations during rectification of electrical issues, due to the absence of power supply at pit lines, has been a key factor driving this consumption.
To curb diesel dependence, the decision was made to authorize the establishment of a 750 V power supply through grids for all LHB maintenance pits across the Indian Railways network. This forward-looking approach is anticipated to markedly reduce diesel consumption.

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Ashwini Vaishnaw, the Railways Minister, spoke of Indian Railways’ commitment to achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2030 in March 2023. This resolute goal was re-emphasized by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the recent foundation stone laying of 508 ‘Amrit Bharat’ stations. The electrification initiative targeting pit lines, a notable source of diesel consumption, constitutes a vital component of this broader environmental endeavor.





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