Indian Railways: Net-Zero Carbon Emission Ambitions by 2030

In a major push towards sustainability, Indian Railways is rapidly electrifying its network and is set to become the world's largest green rail system within the next few months. This achievement surpasses initial targets, with the entire broad gauge network expected to be fully electric well ahead of the fiscal year's end. The government's commitment to this green initiative is evident in the allocation of ₹6,500 crore in the interim budget to accelerate electrification projects. This ambitious electrification drive positions Indian Railways as a global leader in environmentally friendly transportation.

Indian Railways: Net-Zero Carbon Emission Ambitions by 2030

Since 2014, Indian Railways has been making significant strides towards electrification, investing over ₹46,425 crore in this critical initiative. While the complete phasing out of diesel locomotives is still underway, a clear shift is evident. As of December 2023, electric locomotives (10,238) now outnumber their diesel counterparts (4,543), marking a significant milestone in the journey towards a greener rail network.

Indian Railways accelerated their journey to a greener future in fiscal year 2023-24, electrifying a staggering 7,188 kilometers of track. This significant expansion included key routes like Ahmedabad-Rajkot-Okha, Bengaluru-Talguppa, and Bathinda-Firozpur-Jalandhar. The shift towards electric traction isn't just about efficiency; it's estimated to be a game-changer for the environment, with a projected 24% reduction in carbon emissions by 2027-28.

Indian Railways has undergone a massive electrification push since 2014-15, adding over 40,000 kilometers of electric tracks to the broad gauge network. This represents a dramatic acceleration compared to the pre-2014 pace. The electrification speed has gone into overdrive, jumping from a sluggish 1.42 kilometers per day in 2014-15 to a remarkable 19.6 kilometers per day by 2023-24 – nearly nine times faster!

Indian Railways: Net-Zero Carbon Emission Ambitions by 2030

India is setting the pace for clean railways! With a whopping 95% of its tracks electrified, Indian Railways boasts one of the most eco-friendly rail networks in the world. This achievement far surpasses electrification rates in Europe (56%), the UK (38%), and even the US (a mere 1%). However, Switzerland remains the champion with a near-perfect 99% electrification rate.

In a bold move towards a greener future, Indian Railways is electrifying its network at an impressive pace. This shift to electric trains promises a breath of fresh air – literally! Electric locomotives ditch polluting fossil fuels, leading to cleaner air, especially in urban areas. Additionally, it pinches India's dependence on expensive imported oil, saving the country valuable resources.

However, the journey isn't without its challenges. Right now, most of India's electricity comes from coal-fired power plants, which still contribute to air pollution. Experts warn that unless India ramps up renewable energy sources like solar and wind power, the environmental benefits of electric trains might be limited. It's a bit like cleaning your room by shoving dirt under the rug – the pollution just ends up somewhere else.

Despite these hurdles, Indian Railways remains ambitious, with a goal to become the world's largest green railway network by 2030, achieving net-zero carbon emissions. This vision hinges on India's ability to embrace renewable energy and create a truly sustainable transportation system.

Also read: 15 must have accessories for traveling via train in India

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