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In a first, Indian Railway flags off aluminum freight train rake from Odisha

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Indian Railway’s first indigenously manufactured aluminum goods train rake was flagged off by Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnav from Bhubaneswar in Odisha on Sunday.

Lighter than its predecessors, but with more freight-carrying capacity, the rake was made in collaboration with Besco Limited Wagon Division and aluminum major Hindalco.

The rake has a lower carbon footprint for every 100 kg of weight reduction in wagons, the Railways said.
The lifetime carbon saving was eight to 10 tonnes and this meant, saving more than 14,500 tonnes of carbon for a single rake, it said.

Around 180 tonnes lighter than existing steel rakes, the aluminum rakes result in increased speed and lower power consumption for the same distance, the national transporter said.

“This is a proud moment for the country and our drive for indigenization as these lightweight aluminum wagons are a big innovation for the Indian Railways,”

Ashwini Vaishnav, Union Minister of Railways

“These wagons save 14,500 tonnes of CO2 emissions, have more carrying capacity, consume less energy, and are corrosion-resistant. They are 100% recyclable and even after 30 years, they will be as good as new. These aluminum wagons will enable us to achieve our climate goals,” he said.

Indian railways have plans to deploy more than one lakh wagons in the coming years, Hindalco said in a statement highlighting that the potential annual CO2 reduction after making a 15-20% shift to aluminum wagons could be over 25 lakh tonnes. This will be a notable contribution to the country’s sustainability goals, it said.

Fabricated by Besco, based on RDSO-approved designs, the new generation wagons are made from high-strength aluminum alloy plates and extrusions indigenously manufactured at Hindalco’s rolling facility at Hirakud in Odisha, leveraging its global technology, the statement said.

The new rake can carry 180 tonnes extra payload per trip over conventional rakes and being corrosion-resistant, will reduce maintenance costs, it said, adding that fully lock-bolted construction was used to build these wagons with no welding on the superstructure.

While the manufacturing of these rakes cost 35% higher than normal as the superstructure was all aluminum, the rakes have an 80% resale value and a 10-year longer lifespan as compared to normal ones.
The iron and steel industry consumes a lot of nickel and cadmium which are imported. So the proliferation of aluminum wagons would result in less import and at the same time, it was good for the domestic aluminum industry, an official said.

Hindalco is also planning to participate in the manufacturing of aluminum coaches for high-speed passenger trains. Aluminum trains command a lion’s share in the United States, Europe, and Japan because of attributes such as sleek, aerodynamic designs and their ability to tilt at high speeds without going off the rails, the company said.

“The launch of India’s first aluminum freight rake is a testimony to our capability and commitment to offer smart and sustainable solutions for nation-building. Hindalco is steadfast in bringing together the best of global technologies with local resources to make Indian Railways’ logistics more efficient and contribute to the vision of an Atmanirbhar Bharat.”

Satish Pai, Managing Director, Hindalco Industries

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