In a significant stride towards environmental sustainability, the Bengaluru railway division has successfully accomplished the 100% electrification of its broad gauge network. This encompasses an extensive track network spanning 1,138.151 km, with 971.151 km traversing Karnataka, 173 km in Tamil Nadu, and an additional 172 km in Andhra Pradesh.
The meticulous process involved statutory inspections of railway electrification works, culminating in a speed trial at the full sectional speed of 110 kmph in the Hirisave-Hassan section of the Bengaluru division, South Western Railway (SWR). The completion of this endeavour on December 19 marks the division’s attainment of 100% electrification, as affirmed by Kusuma Hariprasad, the Additional Divisional Railway Manager.
Providing insights into the division’s current status, Hariprasad mentioned that despite a slight delay in the traction substation (TSS) work at Chintamani on the Chikkaballapur-Kolar Section, approximately 95% of the TSS work has been finalised. Assurance is given that the remaining work will conclude by the end of the month.
At present, electric trains are operational between Bengaluru and Chikkaballapur. The completion of the Chintamani traction substation will enable the operation of Memu (Mainline Electric Multiple Unit) and freight trains between Bengaluru and Kolar.
While the broader goal for Indian Railways is to achieve 100% electrification of the entire broad-gauge network by 2023-2024, notable progress has already been made, with 93% (60,814 km route) of the total 65,532 km route completed as of December 1, 2023. Among the 18 railway zones, 10 have successfully achieved complete electrification. Notably, SWR stands as the second least electrified zone in the country, with 80% (2,899 route km) of the 3,606 route km completed thus far. The Northeast Frontier Railway, based in Guwahati, is currently at the bottom with 48% electrification of its 4,151 route km.
In line with broader environmental initiatives, Indian Railways aims to become a net-zero carbon emitter by 2030. This transition brings about various advantages, including cost savings due to reduced line haul costs, increased haulage capacity, enhanced sectional capacity, and reduced operating and maintenance costs of electric locomotives. Furthermore, it aligns with an energy-efficient and eco-friendly mode of transportation, reducing dependence on imported crude oil and resulting in significant foreign exchange savings, as highlighted by railway officials.