Indian Railways sets target to become net-zero carbon emitter by 2030

Railways electrification

Vaishnaw said in his reply that 2,002 kilometres of broad gauge network has been electrified during 2023-24 up to November 2023.

The Indian Railways has set a target of becoming a net-zero carbon emitter by 2030 and is committed to taking steps for energy conservation, Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw informed the Lok Sabha in a written reply on Wednesday.

Talking about the initiatives taken to achieve the target, Vaishnaw said, “Broad gauge networks of 60,814 kilometres have been electrified up to November 2023. Of these, 39,013 kilometres have been electrified during the period from April 2014 to November 2023 against 5,188 kilometres during 2004-14.”

He presented zone-wise details of the electrified network, according to which the Northern Railway — at 6,799 route kilometres — has achieved the highest electrification.

Vaishnaw was responding to questions from MPs Rahul Ramesh Shewale, Chandra Sekhar Sahu and Pritam Gopinath Munde, who wanted to know whether the Indian Railways was working towards achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2030 to become the world’s largest “green” railway.

They also wanted to know the “details of the rail routes electrified till November 30, 2023, particularly in Maharashtra”.

Vaishnaw said in his reply that 2,002 kilometres of broad gauge network has been electrified during 2023-24 up to November 2023, “including 146 kilometres broad gauge network falling in the state of Maharashtra. Electrification of balance broad gauge routes has been taken up”.

On the question of developing dedicated freight corridors with a long-term low-carbon roadmap, the minister said, “The Dedicated Freight Corridor (DFCs) projects are expected to help in reducing the carbon emissions as DFC operation will bring efficiency in freight operations in the country by higher throughput per wagon, lower energy consumption and reduction in transit time.”

“Eastern DFC, which has been completed, and Western DFC, which is currently under implementation, are estimated to reduce emissions by about 457 million ton CO2 over a 30-year period,” he added.

According to Vaishnaw, the Indian Railways has also issued a comprehensive policy for adoption of energy efficiency measures in non-traction applications that cover sustainable buildings, cloud-based data monitoring and management portal, and energy efficiency in equipment and appliances.

“The policy also provides for procurement of Bureau of Energy Efficiency 5-star rated equipment,” Vaishnaw said while presenting 17 measures that the Railways has taken for energy conservation.

Fencing Vande bharat tracks

The railways will have safety fencing at vulnerable locations for Vande Bharat trains to run at a speed between 110 kmph and 130 kmph and all along the tracks for a speed above 130 kmph, Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw told the Lok Sabha on Wednesday.

In a written response to a question from BJP MP Ghanshyam Singh Lodhi, the minister said, “Safety is accorded the highest priority by Indian Railways.”

Lodhi wanted to know the manner in which the safety of railway tracks is being ensured in view of the high speed of Vande Bharat trains.”

“Railways is having a set system of inspection, maintenance and repair of track,” Vaishnaw said, providing a list of steps such as modern track structure, patrolling of railway tracks, ultrasonic flaw detection testing of rails to detect flaws and mechanisation of track maintenance among others.

“Safety fencing has been stipulated at vulnerable locations for speed above 110 kmph to 130 kmph and all along the track for speed above 130 kmph, as a minimum standard,” he said.

Lodhi also asked if the railway tracks on which Vande Bharat trains run are reportedly being obstructed by anti-social elements.

“During the year 2023 (up to November), four incidents of obstruction by putting foreign elements on railway tracks by anti-social elements on route of Vande Bharat trains were reported and action against the arrested persons in these cases have been taken as per law, Vaishnaw said, adding that the Railway Protection Force (RPF) in coordination with GRP/district police and civil administration takes several initiatives to ensure safe train operations.

Responding to another question, the minister said, “Introduction of new train services and provision of stoppage of existing train services, including Vande Bharat services, are ongoing processes…subject to traffic justification, operational feasibility, resource availability, etc.

First Published: Dec 20 2023 | 9:27 PM IST

The Indian Railways has announced its goal of achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2030 and is taking steps towards energy conservation, according to Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw. In a written reply to the Lok Sabha, Vaishnaw stated that 60,814 kilometers of the broad gauge network have been electrified as of November 2023, with 39,013 kilometers electrified between April 2014 and November 2023. The Northern Railway has achieved the highest electrification with 6,799 route kilometers. Additionally, Vaishnaw highlighted the development of dedicated freight corridors, which are expected to reduce carbon emissions by approximately 457 million tons CO2 over a 30-year period. The Indian Railways has also implemented a comprehensive policy for energy efficiency measures. In terms of safety, safety fencing is being installed at vulnerable locations for Vande Bharat trains to ensure safe operations. The railways are actively working to address incidents of obstruction on railway tracks by anti-social elements. The introduction of new train services and provision of stoppages are ongoing processes, subject to various factors such as traffic justification and operational feasibility. The goal of achieving net-zero carbon emissions aligns with the Indian Railways’ commitment to sustainability and environmental conservation.

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