Indian Railways enters into deal with MELPL for procurement and maintenance
The new powerful electric locomotive is expected to be a game-changer for the movement of freight by Indian Railways
Indian Railways and France’s Alstom have entered into a procurement cum maintenance agreement with Madhepura Electric Locomotive (MELPL), where the country’s most powerful electric locomotives are being manufactured.
The new twin Bo-Bo design locomotive with 22.5 tonnes axle load upgradable to 25 tonnes with design speed of 120 kmph will be powered by 12000HP was inaugurated in March 2018.
According to a statement issued by the Ministry of Railways, the electric locomotive has undergone a substantial change as suggested by the RDSO and a subsequent inspection was carried at the Madhepura unit and cleared for dispatch from factory.
After the test and trial runs of the electronic locomotive, Alstom will accelerate the delivery schedule and supply 10 locomotives in FY 2019-20,90 locomotives in FY 2020-21 and 100 locomotives per year beyond March 2021 as per the recovery plan.
Touted as the largest Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) projects of Railways, the Ministry of Railways and Alstom came together in 2015. An agreement worth 3.5 billion Euro was signed to manufacture 800 electric locomotives for freight service and its associated maintenance.
The new powerful electric locomotive is expected to be a game-changer for the movement of freight by Indian Railways. The locomotive will have the capacity to haul around 6000T trains at a maximum speed of 100kmph. The locomotive will be used in the Dedicated Freight Corridor (DFC) for the faster movement of goods, especially coal and iron ore.
It is expected to be a game-changer for movement of coal trains in the DFC of Indian Railways. The project will allow faster and safer movement of heavier freight trains. The new locomotive will not only bring down the operational costs for railways, but will also reduce the congestion faced. This is the first time that a locomotive with such high horsepower is being tested on broad gauge network in the world by any railways.
The project is expected to give a boost to the government’s Make in India initiative. A new factory for the production unit of the locomotives has been set up in Madhepura, Bihar, with a capacity to manufacture 120 locomotives a year. The project will create more than 10,000 direct and indirect jobs in the country according to the official statement.
More than Rs 2,000 crores has been invested in the project already with one maintenance depot already established in Saharanpur. Work is starting on the second one at Nagpur.
More than 300 engineers from India and France are working in Bangalore, Madhepura, and France on the project. In two years time, more than 90% of the parts will be manufactured in India.