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Indian Railways to get new GE diesel locomotives by February-end under $2.5 billion ‘Make in India’ project

The Indian Railways will receive new diesel locomotives from GE Transportation on February 22, a welcome piece of good news to the national transporter. 

These GE diesel locomotives form a part of an Indian Railways order of 1000 engines. Though the initial set of diesel locomotives will be manufactured in the US, the production however will shift to GE’s factory in Bihar. 

Tweeting about the development, Nalin Jain, President & CEO, GE Transportation, Asia-Pacific said, “Beautiful picture of 6 production locomotives on way from Erie, US to India for the GE Marhowra project in India. First 2 locos already here, handover to Indian Railways on 22nd Feb. @GETRANSPORT @GEIndia @RailMinIndia”. 

The $2.5 billion project comes under Modi government’s ‘Make in Indiainitiative. 

As stated by Nalin Jain, two diesel locomotives have already been shipped to India. The image shared by the GE top executive shows six new locomotives for Indian Railways, partly covered in snow, but with their bright hues of yellow and red and Indian Railways written in white – clearly visible. According to GE, red signifies energy and yellow freshness. GE has said that approximately 50 gallons of paint has been used for this colour scheme – something it claims will also provide protection to the locomotive’s exterior in harsh weather conditions. 

To begin with GE Transportation will export from the US, 40 diesel locomotives. These will be of the dual cabin 1,676 mm gauge variety. Under the project, GE Transportation will make two types of diesel locomotives for Indian Railways – one of 4,500 horsepower and another of 6,000 horsepower. 

The locomotives that have arrived in India are of the WDG4G-class with dual cabin and have undergone extensive testing in the US. On the other hand, the ES57ACi locomotive with 6,000 horsepower and a single cabin will be manufactured later. GE Transportation claims that the new locomotives, with features such as air-conditioning and a maximum speed of 100 km/hr, will “significantly modernise India’s rail infrastructure” 

The production of new diesel locomotives from GE, RailNews says,  will begin in India in the third quarter of 2018 at the company’s factory in Bihar’s Marhowra. Out of 1,000 locomotives, 700 would be of 4,500 horsepower and the rest would be of 6,000 horsepower. The 1,000 locomotives will be delivered to Indian Railways over a span of 10 years – starting 2018 – at an average of 100 per year. GE Transportation is also making maintenance sheds in Gujarat’s Gandhidham and Uttar Pradesh’s Roza.

Meanwhile, another foreign giant – Alstom – is manufacturing electric locomotives for Indian Railways at its factory in Bihar’s Madhepura. The order by Indian Railways is for 800 electric locomotives. These will be able to attain a maximum speed of 120 kmph. The delivery of Alstom’s electric locomotives to Indian Railways will also commence soon. Indian Railways is all set to commission its first dedicated freight corridor in 2019 and with the delivery of new locomotives – diesel and electric – the transportation of goods and movement of freight – is likely to see better days ahead.


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