Indian Railways For Bulk Production Of Aluminium Coaches To Reduce Energy Requirement And Increase Bauxite Loadings

Snapshot

The Railways is planning to be 100 per cent electrified by December 2023 and be net-zero emission by 2030.

The aluminium venture would open the scope for laying new lines in bauxite rich haulage areas of Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand to aluminium melting units.

 

The proposals for bulk production of aluminium coaches, a gradual shift from steel-bodied LHB coaches to lightweight energy-efficient ones, in the Railway Budget aims at meeting twin goals of the national transporter – reduction in energy consumption and increase in loading of bauxite for aluminium plants.

Amid the ongoing effect of Omicron wave, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman is expected to focus on economy beyond the pandemic in her Budget on 1 February. For the economy as well as the Railways, the growth in capital expenditure is crucial to sustaining the infrastructure development.

The proposed plan for going full steam for production of about 6,500 aluminium coaches is an ambitious one as it envisages growth in freight with more bauxite loadings as well as reduction in power consumption for the lightweight energy-efficient coaches.

India has a rich reserve of bauxite, and as of today, the country produces 3.9 million tons (MT) alumina and mines nearly 20 MT of bauxite.

The Railways is planning to be 100 per cent electrified by December 2023 and be net-zero emission by 2030.

More electrified routes are expected to increase power consumption substantially with possible growth in demand in both passenger and freight service in future. Therefore, efficiency and cost-effective in energy consumption will be of critical concern to the Railways in the coming years.

One of the mechanisms of reducing energy consumption in train operation is by reducing tare weight. While in case of wagons, railways is replacing ordinary steel with stainless steel, in case of passenger trains, railways is considering induction of lightweight aluminium coaches as against the heavier steel-bodied coaches.

This will have two-fold benefit for the Railways as on the one hand it will increase energy efficiency in passenger train operation and reduce cost of haulage, on the other hand, mining of bauxite which will be carried mostly as railways freight, said a senior Railway Ministry official.

The official further said in effect the Railways will save on energy consumption and earn in freight haulage.

The aluminium venture would open the scope for laying new lines in bauxite rich haulage areas of Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand to aluminium melting units.

While on one hand, bauxite mining would lead to more aluminium plants, aluminium consumption in the Railways will increase freight traffic also, the official said.

According to the plan, there would be newly electrified routes for Koraput, Kalahandi, Kajipet, Bilaspur, Raigada, Junagarh, among other destinations for bauxite transportation.