The Indian Railways is planning to electrify the broad gauge network by the year 2023-24, a statement on Monday confirmed. This will not only lead to better fuel energy usage resulting in increased throughout, but also result in reduced fuel expenditure as well as savings in foreign exchange, the railways said.

According to the release, the Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) has already completed electrification of a total of 649 Route Kilometers/1294 Tonne Kilometers (TKM) of High-Density Network (HDN) from Katihar Guwahati in this series. This feat, the latest in the NFR’s effort towards Green Transporation, will establish Electric Traction connectivity between Guwahati and all major cities across India

“The final leg of HDN on NF Railway of 107 RKM/273 TKM was successfully inspected by Commission of Railway Safety (CRS) NF circle from 7th Oct to 9th Oct 2021. In addition to this, passenger trains with higher speed & heavier goods trains can be run,” the statement read. 

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The move is also expected to save Rs 300 crore every year in foreign cash reserves spent on HSD oil. The amount of HSD oil consumed per month is expected to be slashed by 3,400 kilolitres. 

“Due to seamless train operation, traction change at New Jalpaiguri, New Coochbehar will now be done away with, enhancing mobility of the trains.”

The travel time between Guwahati and Katihar/Malda Town will reduced by an estimated 2 hours as train speeds will improve due to better acceleration as well as deceleration. Increased line capacity of up to 10-15% will also help reducing level of saturation on many sections, allowing more trains to run. 

Why electrification is important?

Electrification allows heavier goods to be transported at higher speeds. The NF Railway has to deal with difficult terrain that includes numerous graded sections, curves and bridges. Electric traction shall eliminate need for multi diesel locos as higher HP electric engines can maintain higher speed in gradient section.