Indian Railways Electrification- Marching towards a better environment

Indian Railways Electrification- Marching towards a better environment
In rail budget 2016-17, Hon’ble Minister of Railways Suresh Prabhu, announced that Railways have increased the outlay for railway electrification by almost 50% and propose to electrify 2,000 kms in the present financial year. Hon’ble MR, while presenting the railway budget said that complete railway electrification will not only be environment friendly but also economical.  
Electrification at a glance:
Presently, the Total Route kilometers (RKM) on Indian Railways as on 31.03.15 is 66,030 RKMs and Route kilometers electrified as on 31.03.16 is 27,999 RKMs.  As of now, 42.40 Percent of RKM has been electrified which includes, 64.80 percent Goods traffic and 51.30 percent Coaching traffic hauled by electric traction.  A total of Rs.26892 crore, in the year 2015-16, was spent on the electrification process (diesel + electric). Of which, Rs. 10406 crore i. e. 38.70% of total Indian Railway fuel bill was spent on electric traction (goods + coaching).  
Plan wise progress of electrification on IR
In the wake of industrial development in India and to cope with the growing traffic, electrification and dieselisation had to be introduced in the early 1960s. After the completion of the pre independence era i.e from 1925-1947, Indian Railways had electrified only 388 route-kilometres (rkm).
At the end of first Five Year Plan, Indian Railways had electrified 141 RKM was electrified. During the second plan, the electrification was extended up to 216 RKM.  In the Third Plan, electrification was extended over another 1,678 rkm. In the Annual, fourth, fifth, Inter-plan and sixth plan around 814, 953, 533, 195 and 1522 RKM respectively was electrified.
The pace of electrification was considerably speeded up and Indian Railways achieved progress of 2,812 rkm during the 7th Plan, 2,708 rkm during 8th Plan and 2,484 rkm during 9th Plan making a total of 16,001 rkm. In the 10th Plan, electrification of 1,810 rkm was achieved. In the recently concluded 11th Plan (2007–12) electrification of 4,556 rkm was achieved. By the end of 11th plan, 4556 RKM was electrified, increasing the cumulative number to 2224 RKM.
Six major trunk routes of the Golden Quadrilateral and diagonals i.e. Delhi — Mumbai via Central and Western Railways, Delhi — Chennai, Mumbai — Calcutta and Howrah—Chennai have already been fully electrified. Electrification of remaining Mumbai — Chennai Route (Nandalur — Pune) is in progress. A total of 1317, 1350, 1375, 1730 RKM in the financial years 2012-13, 2013-14, 2014-15 and 2015-16 was taken up for electrification respectively.  According to the plan, a total of 2000, 2000, 2135 and 2135 RKM will be taken up for electrification in the years 2016-17, 2017-18, 2018-19 and 2019-20 respectively.
 Action Plan:
1.  18 New Electrification Projects included in Pink Book 2016-17 comprising 2569 RKM at a cost of Rs 2741 Crore, for which mandatory approvals and sanctions are in progress.
2. Electrification 24 Nos. railway routes (3276 RKM) have been included under Capital Investment Programme, through Joint Venture/SPVs/Partnership with State Government & Stake Holder, in Rail Budget 2016-17.
3. In lines of Hon’ble MR’s Budget pronouncement (2016-17), routes covering 11717 rkms have been identified for electrification through Extra Budgetary Resources (EBR) funding. Proposal for undertaking electrification of 72 Nos. routes have been processed for ‘In Principle’ approval of Board.  
A number of steps have been taken by the Indian Railways to improve project delivery:
1. Bringing in Efficiency through modernisation in Railway Electrification:  · Self-Propelled Wiring Train: for simultaneous stringing of Catenary and Contact Wires · Self-Propelled Multi Utility cum-Mast Erection Vehicle: for efficiency and reduction of Block time
2. EPC Contract on a pilot basis: Delhi-Rewari-Jaipur- Phulera-Ajmer RE work on EPC Contract Request-for- Proposal (RFP) opened on 02.05.16 at Central Organisation for Railway Electrification (CORE), Allahabad, and is presently under consideration.
3. Delegation of tender acceptance and sanction of detailed estimate power to General Managers
4. Implementation of Projects through Railway PSU
5. RVNL executing 300 RKM per year. Steps taken to enhance RVNL’s electrification output to 1000 RKM per year.
6. Creation of New Window for funding of Electrification Projects through Institutional Funding Mechanism.
New technological developments in electric traction:
1. 2X25,000 Volts OHE system against 25,000 Volt OHE system on Eastern and Western DFC to reduce number of TSS and increase number of trains in the section.
2. High rise OHE of 7.5 mts to carry double stack container traffic Western DFC
3. Intelligent Tower Car for predictive maintenance of OHE.
4. Mechanized Wiring Train for Railway Electrification
Achievements so far (2015-16):
1. Varanasi - Janghai Unchahar incl Phaphamau - Prayag Allahabad electrification commissioned.
2. Ghaziabad - Meerut - Saharanpur electrification commissioned.
3. New Delhi to Lucknow connected on electric traction via Moradabad- Ghaziabad - Moradabad electrification commissioned.
4. Electric traction reaches Mettupalayam: Coimbatore- Mettupalayam electrification commissioned.
5. Electric traction reaches Gorakhpur: Bhatni – Gorakhpur -Domingarh opened on electric traction. Gonda – Basti commissioned.
6. Domingarh – Basti to be commissioned shortly.
7. Alwar - Rewari electrification commissioned. With this Mathura -Alwar - Rewari is completed on electric traction.
8. Barauni - Mansi electrification commissioned Manmad - Daund via Shirdi connected on electric traction -Puntamba-Daund electrification completed.
9. Gooty – Dharamavaram electrification completed.
10. Laksar - Haridwar electrification completed.
11. Garwa Road - Meralgram electrification commissioned.
12. Kozikode - Kannur - Charvattur electrification commissioned.
13. Ib - Jharsuguda - Lapanga electrification commissioned.  
Other developments:
1. Electrification of Railway tracks to be made a NATIONAL MISSION for energy security & energy efficiency.
 2. New Railway Electrification projects of about 10000 RKMs to be sanctioned in next three years. Availability of funds @ Rs. 3000-3500 Crores per annum should continue.
3. All port connectivity routes, DFC feeder routes, HDN routes, missing links are to be electrified.
4. Projects costing Rs. 1000 Crore and above should only be sent to NITI Aayog for In-Principle Approval.