New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday flagged off three Indian Railway projects in Bihar's Madhepura. Among them was the start of a project to build India's most-powerful railway engine - one which promises to zip at speeds of up to 110kmph.
A collaboration between India and France, the engine - WAG12 - will be built at Greenfield Locomotive Factory. The factory itself has been built with the help of a French company called Alstom which has a share of 74 per cent in establishing investment. Indian Railways has put in the remaining 26 per cent of the investment. In the first phase, the company has ordered for the main components from France and these would be assembled in the plant in Madhepura. It is expected that the factory here would be able to manufacture five such rail engines by the end of 2019 and the numbers would rise to 35 in 2020, 60 by 2021 and then 100 in each subsequent year.
The engine itself promises to change the face of Indian Railways at a time when it is looking to up its game in freight transportation. Goods would be expected to reach from one part of the country to another at a considerably quicker pace and in turn, more trips - and therefore, more revenue - can be made.
What is helping in the assembly and construction of the WAG12 is that the plant in Madhepura is equipped with cutting-edge technology. Spread over 260 acres, the factory currently has 70 workers and is expected to employ more as scale of production is ramped up. Little wonder then that Indian Railways has its focus now firmly on the Greenfield Locomotive Factory with the existing factory - Chittaranjan Locomotive Factory producing the WAG9 which is in use currently - since 2014.