In a boost to the government’s ‘Make in India’ campaign, the railways has issued a letter of award to Germany-based industrial manufacturer Siemens’ India unit to produce and maintain 1,200 high horsepower electric freight locomotives at the railways' factory at Dahod, Gujarat.

As part of the deal, which will be signed within 30 days of the issuance of LoA, the German major will make 1,200 high horsepower (9,000 HP) electric locomotives over 11 years and maintain them for 35 years. The estimated value of the contract is about ₹26,000 crore (about $3.2 billion), excluding taxes and price variation.

The prototype locomotives will be delivered in the next two years. The railways’ Dahod unit is Gujarat’s first and the country’s fourth manufacturing unit.

The railways said Siemens India has been chosen as the technology partner through a “fair, transparent and competitive bidding process”. To manufacture and maintain locomotives, the company will utilise and train the railway staff. These locomotives will be made at Dahod and maintenance work will be done at four maintenance depots -- Vishakhapatnam, Raipur, Kharagpur, and Pune – utilising the railway’s manpower.

The railways said the project will also lead to the development of the Dahod region and generate job opportunities in the region. The high-horsepower locomotives, touted to be the future workhorse for freight operation on railways, will be primarily used on Western DFC and on graded sections of railways for hauling container freight trains in double stack configuration of 4,500 tonnes at 75 kmph at 1 in 200 gradients and improve the average speed of such trains to around 50-60 kmph over the existing 20-25 kmph, says a railways statement.

The improved operating parameters will lead to an increase in the throughput and enhance line capacity. These locomotives, which are equipped with state-of-the-art IGBT-based propulsion technology, will save energy consumption due to regenerative braking technology, it said.

The railways said there is also a provision to manufacture and supply standard gauge locomotives for the export market in future. Siemens India will ensure 95% availability and 1,50,000 km of trouble-free operation of locomotives before any maloperation can take place as the guaranteed key performance indicators (KPIs).

The ministry decided to conduct a single stage two packet bidding process for obtaining technical and financial bids for the selection of a suitable technological partner. The notice inviting bids for the selection of the technological partner was issued on April 20, 2022, while the financial bids were opened on December 6, 2022.

The Centre recently also approved a proposal to redevelop three major railway stations -- New Delhi railway station, Ahmedabad railway station and Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT), Mumbai – for ₹10,000 crore. The redesigning work will be carried out in 2-3.5 years using green building techniques – solar energy, water conservation, recycling and improved tree cover.

The Indian Railways has earned ₹33,476 crore during the April-October 2022 in the current fiscal year, recording 92% growth as compared to ₹17,394 crore revenue earned during the same period last year.

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