State-of-the-art train engine to give freight transport a facelift

The freight transport in India is all set to get a facelift in months to come. A state-of-the-art freight train engine, designed by Research Designs and Standards Organisation (RDSO), Lucknow, and manufactured by Diesel Locomotive Works, Varanasi, will soon be put to test on Bareilly-Moradabad railway line.

The engine, named Bheem, has a host of new features, which include computerised controls, an air conditioned cabin for the driver and a toilet. Special care has been taken to provide comfort to the driver and overall safety in the engine, known as WDG-5 in Railway nomenclature.

“It will have a dashboard like the ones used in an aeroplan”,” said Rajiv Vishnoi, Senior Executive Director Standards (Motive Power), RDSO. The controls are computerised and the driver will be able to start the engine just by the click of a button. The display will employ TFTs, which are used in LCD TVs. It will also have better protection against collision and improved visibility.

Bheem’s 5,500 horse power (HP) diesel engine will be the first in India. Currently, Railways employs 4,500 HP engines for freight transport. The engine also features 20 cylinders, while the 4,500 HP engines have 16 cylinders. All this translates as a ‘balancing’ speed of 100 kmph with 59 standard wagons, while the the 4,500 HP engine could manage only 85 kmph. At full horsepower, Bheem can attain a maximum operating speed of 105 kmph.

The engine’s Electronic Fuel Injection (EFI) will also replace the existing mechanical fuel injection (MFI) technology. EFI was, again, developed by RDSO in collaboration with IIT Kanpur and Diesel Modernisation Works, Patiala, last year” “EFI is also undergoing trial in a 3,300 HP engine. If all goes well, it will replace MFI in existing freight trains sometime next year,” said Vishnoi.

“EFI will result in saving up to four per cent of fuel,” he said. Indian Railways consumes nearly 2.5 billion litre of fuel costing approximately Rs 10,000 crore.

Travel by Maharajah Express to tour UP by train

Finally, there’s something on the tourism front for the city that Lucknowites can celebrate. For a city crammed with historical spaces, not to mention a unique culture, the complaint often has been that it hardly falls within the tourist map, with foreigners just passing through Lucknow on their way to better advertised places like Varanasi or even the Buddhist circuit. But hopefully, all that should change with this latest initiative of the Royal India Railway Tours, a partnership between IRCTC and a private tour operator, which is bringing a luxury train into the city as a part of its travel itinerary that includes Agra, Varanasi, Gwalior, Bandhavgarh and Khajuraho.

On the lines of super luxury trains like Royal Rajasthan on wheels, Royal Orient and the Deccan Odyssey, The Maharaja express too promises to give its guests a taste of UP, with a luxurious touch. As Nalin Singhal, director, tourism and marketing, IRCTC explains, “We have already brought in several tourists for on this train and so far the response has been enthusiastic. Our endeavour is to provide an experience which is away from the traditional tour one undertakes of India. Depending on the future response we may also consider increasing the number of destinations.” Interestingly, while there are other luxury trains that include Agra and Varanasi in their itinerary, this is for the first time that such a train has come to Lucknow. Also, the project sees active membership by Muzaffar Ali, who has for long championed for greater efforts regarding tourism in Lucknow. Says Singhal, “The kind of clientele we are catering to – premier foreign tourists – can be great ambassadors for tourism and naturally help encourage others to consider destinations like Lucknow.”

Awasthi, director, UP Tourism firmly agrees with, when he says, “Such an initiative can be really advantageous for Lucknow especially since Lucknow traditionally has never been a tourist destination. It will help create an opening for the city among tourists who generally stop by on their way to the Buddhist circuit. We are willing to provide every help and support they require.”

Zero discharge toilets soon in Railways

Tiruchirapalli: Eco-friendly zero discharge toilets are all set to be introduced in trains across the country.

Some of them have already been installed on an experimental basis in trains in the south.

The toilets jointly developed by IIT Kanpur, Research Designs and Standard Organisation, Lucknow and a private agency in Chennai, ensure that all liquid discharges are converted into ‘pure water’ which can be used as re-cycled water to flush and clean toilets and sanitary fittings.

The solid waste is converted into odour free paste by certain bio-chemicals or additives applied at the departing terminal. This can be stored for 15 days in a tank and can easily be emptied at the destination point through ‘pressurised evacuation,’ V Carmelus, Chief Mechanical Engineer of Southern Railways said.

The odourless solid waste could yield revenue since the paste would an excellent manure after being dried in the sun.

After some more trial runs and studies the scheme would be a permanent feature in Indian Railways, he said.

Presently the system has been installed in trains running between Chennai and Jammu Tawi and Chennai-Lucknow, he said.