Indian Railways has invited bids for the manufacture and supply of 800 electric train engines under a contract worth about ₹30,000 crore.
These 12,000-horsepower (HP) electric locomotives are to be supplied over the next 10 years and will be manufactured at Banaras Locomotive Works, Varanasi.
The notice inviting the bid said these locomotives will be maintained at Kanpur (Uttar Pradesh), Sabarmati (Gujarat) and Tughlakabad (Delhi).
These train engines are to be utilised all over the Indian Railways and dedicated freight corridor (DFC) routes. Each engine needs to be capable of hauling 6,000 tonnes of load at an average speed of 75 kilometres per hour.
The idea of such trains for freight movement was mooted in 2007-08. Normally, the freight trains were underpowered and this slowed down their movement.
The new locomotives will be much more capable to handle heavy-haul loads on the DFC, said VN Mathur, former member, traffic, Railway Board.
A similar tender for 12,000-HP electric locomotives was awarded to Alstom as part of a contract worth 3.5 billion euros (about ₹28,195 crore) in 2015. The contract was to supply 800 locomotives for freight service, capable of hauling 6,000 tonnes at a top speed of 120 kmph. This has been the largest foreign direct investment project in the Indian railway sector till date.
“This was the first successful public-private partnership of the Indian Railways. Alstom had bid for supplying at roughly Rs 38 crore per locomotive (plus cost escalation). The international market value was around ₹60 crore per locomotive at that time,” a retired railway official said.