India enters pacts in railways with Germany, UK

The Ministry of Railways signed a preliminary agreement with the Department for International Development, United Kingdom, and a joint declaration of intent with Germany, on strategic projects to improve Indian railways

December 4, 2019

The UK agreement focuses on improving the energy efficiency and self-sufficiency of Indian railways

The UK agreement will help reduce carbon footprint through total electrification of the rail network

A power Sector Reform programme will implement energy storage tools to improve fuel efficiency

The German JDI will facilitate the exchange of information, technology, and expertise between India and Germany

The Ministry of Railways signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Department for International Development (DFID), the United Kingdom on December 2, for cooperation on improving the energy efficiency and self-sufficiency of Indian railways, according to a Ministry of Railways statement. The agreement came close on the heels of a joint declaration of intent (JDI) signed between India and Germany regarding cooperation on strategic railway projects.

Cooperation with the UK

The UK agreement was signed by Mr. Rajesh Kumar Jain, Executive Director of Electrical Engineering (Development), Indian Railways, and by Mr. Gavin McGillivray, Head, DFID-India, in the presence of other Indian Railways board members, to reduce the carbon footprint and subsequent fuel costs of the railway network. This will be achieved through complete electrification of the network through greener sources of sustainable energy, as approved by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA).

The Power Sector Reform (PSR) programme aims to create energy efficiency and sustainability through initiatives on renewable energy planning and deployment, implementation of energy storage technologies, and the enabling of improved fuel efficiency. The agreement also covers infrastructural development for electric vehicles, battery-operated locomotives, and capacity development through training programmes and industrial visits.

Cooperation with Germany

The Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, was recently apprised of the Joint Declaration of Intent (JDI) between India and Germany, signed in November 2019, regarding cooperation on strategic projects in the field of railways. According to a Cabinet statement, the agreement with Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy will facilitate the sharing of information and expertise between the two countries, thereby paving the way for further cooperation on joint projects and overall growth of Indian railways.

The importance of the partnerships can be gauged from the fact that Indian Railways, which has a network of more than 115,000 km, is the third-largest passenger rail system and the fourth largest rail freight carrier in the world. With more than 12,500 passenger trains and over 7,400 freight trains, Indian Railways moves 23 million travelers and 3 million tonnes of freight daily. 

Between the two recent agreements, the Ministry of Railways has identified specific focus areas to improve the energy efficiency and operating efficiency of Indian railways through technological interventions and infrastructure development.