As one of the largest railway networks in the world that serves thousands of people on a daily basis, it has become imperative for the entire system to move into the future. While electrification itself is not a new concept, completely electrifying a massive rail network like the one in India is no easy task. For this purpose, the railway department has procured a fresh investment of ₹35,000 crores. This is sure to help passengers in the long run. You can check the pnr status train on multiple online platforms. Let us take a look at how electrification of the railways began in India.
A Brief History of Electrifying the Railways
In 1925, India’s first electric train ran between the Victoria Terminus in Bombay and Kurla Station. This historic event took place on the Harbour Line on the 3rd of February. The train ran at an astonishingly high voltage of 1500 V DC. Both Igatpuri and Pune have always been crucial economic and manufacturing hubs for the state of Maharashtra. Hills are a common sight in these areas. Electrification of trains was a way to overcome the heavy gradients in these hilly regions. As the number of people using these trains swelled, the 1500 V DC lines were introduced in many of the suburbs of Bombay as well. Madras and Baroda also saw a significant boost in the number of electrified train tracks in the area.
By 1958, the Howrah-Burdwan part of the Eastern Railway was electrified using 3000 V DC. On 14th December of the previous year, the only 3000 V DC service at the time began functioning at the Howrah-Sheoraphuli section.
Development of the Railways over the Next Few Decades
In the late 1950’s, the French Railways found that a 25 kV AC was exponentially more economical than any known DC implementation. The Indian Railways was quick to respond and adopt this new norm. In 1960, the Raj Kharswan–Dongoaposi of the South Eastern Railway saw a massive overhaul. 25 kV AC was introduced here, and it turned out to be a huge success. Passenger and goods services on this line were up and running by 1962. The iconic Howrah-Burdwan section was promptly converted to the new 25 kV AC standard by 1968. A similar change also occurred in many parts of the Southern Railway.
In 1996, it was decided that all DC lines should be converted to AC. Subsequently, the DC to AC conversion was successfully completed by both the Western Railway and the Central Railway in 2012 and 2016 respectively. Today, DC traction is confined to metros and trams only.
The Future of Electrification of Trains
With a growing need to electrify trains across India, an announcement was made on the 31st of March, 2017, that the entire rail network of India would undergo electrification by 2022. It is estimated that up to 30 billion units of electricity may be demanded by the railways annually by the year 2022. Although more than 5100 kilometers of railway lines were electrified between 2014 and 2017, electrifying the entirety of the railways will take an immense amount of resources and planning.