Towards ‘Net Zero’: Railways Sanctions Work With Carbon-Neutral Growth Strategy For Maintenance Of LHB Rakes


In a step towards low carbon transition to adopt a carbon neutral growth strategy, Indian Railways has awarded an ambitious infrastructure project worth Rs 210 crore for creation of 411 washing/pit lines across the country.

Indian Railways has implemented provision of 750 volt power supply for maintenance of Linke Hofmann Busch (LHB) rakes at washing/pit lines.

In November 2016, Railway Board took a policy decision to switch over 100 per cent of its production to LHB coaches from April 2018.

An energy review undertaken at the Railway Board showed that at 2021-22 base, the diesel consumption on testing and maintenance of LHB rakes at washing/pit lines was about 1.84 lakh litre per day.

This amounted to an annual recurring expense of over Rs 668 crore, which was projected to increase by 20 per cent per annum being a combined function of diesel prices and LHB fleet induction.

Comparatively, grid electrical energy is 70 per cent to 80 per cent cheaper. This issue is typical to LHB and does not arise in ICF coaches, and therefore, infrastructure and capacity creation at washing/pit lines by providing 750 volt power supply for testing and maintenance of LHB rakes was important.

According to the Railways, with this aim, capital works for 411 pit lines were sanctioned.

It was a thrust area monitored by the Railway Board in a span of less than one year, capital works were sanctioned covering entire rail network and as of July 2023, works at 316 washing/pit lines have been completed. Rest are targeted for completion this year shortly, maintains the Railways.

The Rs 210 crore worth infrastructure so created is expected to yield a net savings of over Rs 500 crore every year in ordinary working expenses.

The Railways maintains that these are a part of its efforts to improve operational viability of passenger services, particularly mail and express segment, through non-tariff measures by reducing costs and improving efficiency with optimisation.

Indian Railways is deeply committed to cutting fossil fuel dependence and reduce its carbon footprint in the economy to achieve Net Zero by 2030, which had been laid down in the national statement by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the Conference of Parties-26.