Railways in talks with EMD for technology transfer
Kolkata : The Railways is negotiating with Electro-Motive Diesel (EMD) of US, an erstwhile arm of US automaker General Motors, for technology transfer in manufacturing state-of-the-art diesel locomotives as part of a plan to add more horsepower (HP) to its engines. The strategy underlines the aggressive growth plans of Railways in the years ahead as it strives to fulfil the needs of one of the fastest growing global economies.
“Railways is in talks with EMD for advance technology to induct new locomotives which will have higher horsepower in the future,” an official Railways said.
EMD, one of the world’s largest builders of railway locomotives in terms of overall sales, was recently hived off as a separate company from its parent, the US automobile giant General Motors. Railways earlier had a 10-year technology agreement, which got over in 2006. In the aftermath of the US recession, the company is increasingly looking at India and the railways to scout for new business.
The Railways has been manufacturing diesel locomotives of 4,000 HP based on EMD design at the Diesel Locomotive Works (DLW), its dedicated facility for such engines in Varanasi. More recently, however, Railways has started manufacturing locos of 4,500 HP. By the end of 2009-10, DLW is likely to completely switch over to manufacturing such locos. The road ahead is to introduce locos of 5,000 or higher HP, for which the Railways is keen to source the best technology.
Last year, DLW produced its best-ever output of some 257 locos, including 80 EMD type. A majority of DLW’s production caters to the Railways with corporate, including power and steel companies, accounting for the rest. In addition to this, Diesel Loco Modernisation Works at Patiala has also been regularly taking up the job of upgrading older 2,600 HP locos into 3,100 HP ones.
The target is to upgrade a substantial part of the 5,000 locos in operation. At the same time, these locos are also being retro-fitted with advanced micro-processors.