In line with the Indian Railways ‘Solar Mission’ to reduce dependency on fossil fuels, Railways launched its first 1600 HP solar-powered DEMU (Diesel Electric Multiple Unit) train from Safdarjung railway station on Friday. The train has six trailer coaches, with 16 solar panels fitted in each of them. The solar panels will power all the electrical appliances inside.
Railways’ first DEMU rake with solar power hotel load system, based at Shakurbasti shed, was launched by Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu. Shakurbasti DEMU shed has provisioned dual fuel arrangement in 16 of the total holding of 1400 HP Driving Power Cars.
Presenting the Railway Budget for 2016-17, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu announced plans to generate 1000 MW solar power in the next five years.
Annually, the Railways are hoping to reduce 239 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions by saving approximately 90,800 litres of diesel per rake.
— Suresh Prabhu (@sureshpprabhu) July 14, 2017
The Railways have already undertaken steps to install solar panels on rooftops of at railway stations and at level crossings across the country.
Noida-based firm Jakson Engineers Limited (JEL) had been given the task of providing solar panels for DEMU coaches set to be used by the Railways for its pilot projects in Chennai and Amritsar. “We have dispatched solar panels for 30 DEMU coaches in Chennai and 50 DEMU coaches in Amritsar,” Dinesh Khanchandani of JEL had informed Indian Express.
Last year, the Indian Railways conducted trial runs of the Rewari-Sitapur passenger train fitted with solar panels at a cost of Rs 3.90 lakh. Two trains plying on the Pathankot-Jogindernagar route in Kangra Valley section and Kalka-Shimla section were also equipped with solar panels on trial basis.
Indian Railways’ first DEMU service was between Jalandhar and Hoshiarpur on October 23, 1994. The 1400 HP DEMU train services were introduced in 2002, while the 1600 HP DEMU services were introduced this year.
With 182 daily services covering six states including Kashmir, Northern Railway is running the highest number of DEMU trains on Indian Railways.