More than four lakh additional berths will be available to railway passengers every day from October, thanks to a new technology that will allow power generation cars to be replaced with sleeper coaches, senior officials said Wednesday.
Currently, most trains have power cars housing diesel generators, which supply electricity to coaches for various purposes including lighting, fans and air conditioning.
Indian Railways now plans to introduce a new technology, known as “Head on Generation” (HOG) where power supply is tapped from overhead power lines and distributed to train coaches. “Head on Generation” is already in use worldwide. Currently, the power tapped from overhead tension wires through an equipment known as pantograph is used only to run the engines.
Officials say by October this year, over 5,000 coaches of the Indian Railways will be modified to run on the new technology so that they will be able to accept power coming from the overhead cables via the engines.
This will not only enable trains to shed their power cars and make way for more coaches but also save the national transporter more Rs. 6,000 crore in fuel bills annually, officials said.
A power car needs 40 litres of diesel per hour per non-AC coach while an AC coach needs 65-70 litres of diesel per hour. Around three units of electricity is provided by one litre of diesel, so a non-AC coach uses around 120 units of electricity per hour.
The new system, which is ecofriendly, with no air or noise pollution will reduce carbon emissions by 700 MT per year per train, officials said.
“In regular practice, two power cars equipped with Diesel Alternator sets are placed at either ends of the rake run in for example every Shatabdi Express. After we move to the HOG system, there will be a need of only one power car for standby purpose only.
“Another power car can be removed and replaced with an extra passenger coach without increasing the train length. Once all Linke Hoffman Busch coaches are on this system, we have calculated an increase of more than four lakh berths every day through this and thus additional revenue as well,” the official said.