Railways inducts 1st indigenous aluminium freight train rake

New Delhi: Lighter than its predecessors, but with more freight carrying capacity, the railways first indigenously manufactured aluminium goods train rake was flagged off from Bhubaneswar in Odisha on Sunday.

Manufactured in collaboration with Besco Limited Wagon Division and aluminium major Hindalco, it also has a lower carbon footprint for every 100 kg of weight reduction in wagons, the railways said. The lifetime carbon saving is eight to 10 tonnes and this means, savings of more than 14,500 tonnes of carbon for a single rake,

it said.

Flagged off by Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw, the rake is 180 tonnes lighter than existing steel rakes, resulting in increased speed and lower power consumption for the same distance, the national transporter said.

"This is a proud moment for the country and our drive for indigenisation as these lightweight aluminium wagons are a big innovation for the Indian Railways," the minister said.

"These wagons save 14,500 tonnes of CO2 emissions, have more carrying capacity, consume less energy and are corrosion-resistant. They are 100 per cent recyclable and even after 30 years, they will be as good as new. These aluminium wagons will enable us to achieve our climate goals," he said.

Hindalco in a statement said that with the railways planning to deploy more than one lakh wagons in the coming years, the potential annual CO2 reduction could be to the tune of over 25 lakh tonnes, with around a 15 to 20 per cent shift to aluminium wagons. This is a notable contribution to the country's sustainability goals, it said.

The new generation wagons fabricated by Besco, based on RDSO-approved designs, are made from high strength aluminium alloy plates and extrusions indigenously manufactured at Hindalco's rolling facility at Hirakud in Odisha, leveraging its global technology, the statement said.

The new rake can carry 180 tonnes extra payload per trip over conventional rakes and being corrosion resistant, will reduce maintenance costs, it said, adding that fully lock bolted construction was used to built these wagons with no welding on the superstructure.

The railways said that the aluminium rakes have a 80 per cent resale value and a 10 year longer lifespan as compared to normal ones. But the manufacturing cost is 35 per cent higher as the superstructure is all aluminium, it said.

The iron and steel industry consumes a lot of nickel and cadmium which are imported. So proliferation of aluminum wagons will result in less import and at the same time, this is good for the domestic aluminum industry, an official said.

Hindalco is also planning to participate in manufacturing of aluminium coaches for high-speed passenger trains. Aluminium trains command a lion's share in the United States, Europe and Japan because of attributes such as sleek, aerodynamic designs and their ability to tilt at high speeds without going off the rails, the company said.

Satish Pai, Managing Director, Hindalco Industries said, "The launch of the India's first aluminium freight rake is a testimony to our capability and commitment to offer smart and sustainable solutions for nation building. Hindalco is steadfast in bringing together the best of global technologies with local resources to make Indian Railways' logistics more efficient and contribute to the vision of an Atmanirbhar Bharat."

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