With a clear aim of reducing dependence on fuel-guzzling and air-polluting diesel locomotives, the rail ministry has undertaken the ambitious plan of extensive railway electrification in India. This is in perfect tune with the ultimate goal of net-zero emissions by end of 2030 as the entire gamut of rail routes undergoes total electrification to become a hundred percent energy secured organization.
The commitment of Indian Railways to complete electrification of major routes is clear from the fact that the achievement during the seven-year period ending in 2021 has surpassed the previous seven-years achievement by a whopping five times. Electrification of all routes will help Indian Railways draw power purely from green and sustainable energy sources.
Understanding the process of railway electrification
OHE installation is nothing but the laying of electric cables for the purpose of overhead electrification. The project of electrification of a particular railway route involves hundreds of personnel including laborers and engineers among others. State-of-the-art equipment and material support the staff to accomplish the erection of masts along the tracks and brackets for installation of electric cables that would pass through the tunnels.
Once all material and human resources are arranged as per the requirement, the cable drums comprising three types of cables are positioned on the special train designed for automatic wiring. The automatic special train is dispatched to the location on the specified route. This train facilitates automatic installation of overhead wiring and is supported by a utility wagon as well as a tower wagon to achieve simultaneous wiring of overhead and catenary cables. The catenary is the cable that establishes the contact with the train for the transfer of electricity.
Multiple aspects of OHE installation
The entire process of OHE installation involved several steps that include dropping of the cables, followed by flipping to position these accurately and then application of weights to maintain appropriate tension as well as a profile for seamless contact as the train is moving along.
In order to make sure that a constant supply of electricity is maintained, electric sub-stations are commissioned at regular intervals. OHE cables are connected to these sub-stations.
The installation of overhead electric cables for far-reaching OHE Installation in India is simply amazing as it covers a wide gamut of terrains including tunnels, bridges, underpasses, ghat sections, and railway stations to name just a few. By the end of 2023, Indian Railways is planning to complete the electrification of all broad-gauge routes.
A new chapter
Indian Railways is poised for a great leap into a greener and self-reliant future, as the massive and complex process of OHE installation is continued. The gigantic project work has not been affected by the ongoing pandemic as all workers, engineers, and officers are totally dedicated to this mission.
The adoption of electric energy is also a step towards a more cost-effective energy source that is far more efficient than diesel locomotives. This will be supported by the use of solar channels for harnessing sustainable sources of energy and end the dependence on crude oil.
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