New Delhi, India (Urban Transport News): In a remarkable stride towards modernizing the Indian Railways and enhancing the passenger experience, the national transporter is embarking on a significant transformation. This ambitious endeavor encompasses various facets, including the revamp of railway stations, the introduction of cutting-edge trains, the production of semi-high-speed and high-speed trains, and extensive track renewal initiatives. Of particular note in this transformation is the endeavor to manufacture aluminum-built passenger rakes, a move aimed at elevating train speeds to new heights.
The primary objective of introducing aluminum-built passenger rakes into the Indian Railways network is to propel trains to higher speeds. Currently, these advanced rakes are already in use in Metro trains, showcasing their potential to revolutionize the railway sector. Initially, these aluminum rakes are slated for deployment in long-distance trains, with the eagerly anticipated Vande Bharat Sleeper version expected to make its debut next year. Subsequently, the plan is to integrate this innovation into other renowned train services, including the prestigious Rajdhani Express and Shatabdi Express.
To bring this vision to fruition, Hindalco Industries Ltd has forged a pivotal technology partnership with Italy-based Metra SpA. The Italian company boasts expertise in manufacturing high-technology aluminum extrusions, with applications spanning railways, mechanics, industrial sectors, automobiles, and architecture. This strategic collaboration aims to manufacture cutting-edge passenger coaches tailored for the Vande Bharat Express trains. Hindalco has committed an investment of Rs 2,000 crore for this transformative project, with Metra SpA providing the crucial technological know-how.
The use of aluminum rakes holds the promise of significantly elevating train speeds on Indian railways. Currently, the country's first indigenous semi-high-speed train is designed to reach a maximum speed of 180 kmph. However, with the integration of aluminum-built rakes, these trains could exceed speeds of 200 kmph. This leap in speed is made possible by the lightweight nature of aluminum, which not only enhances speed but also reduces maintenance costs and offers superior resistance to corrosion and abrasion.
A notable milestone in this journey towards aluminum adoption in the Indian Railways was the introduction of the country's first Aluminum Freight Rake – 61 BOBRNALHSM1, flagged off by Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw last year. This achievement was the result of collaborative efforts between Railways, Besco Ltd Wagon Division, and Hindalco.
Aluminum has emerged as the preferred metal for railways worldwide due to its exceptional properties. Its aerodynamic characteristics significantly enhance energy efficiency, while a single aluminum rake can save over 14,500 tonnes of CO2 throughout its operational lifetime. This shift towards aluminum is not unique to India; several countries such as Japan, China, and various European nations have already embraced aluminum railcars for their railways.
The adoption of aluminum-built rakes by Indian Railways represents a pivotal step in enhancing the efficiency, speed, and sustainability of the nation's railway network. With Hindalco and Metra SpA leading the charge, this partnership holds the promise of revolutionizing train travel in India, making it faster, more eco-friendly, and passenger-centric.