Maligaon: Electrification of railway tracks is under various stages of execution in sections of Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR). The whole of the NFR track, including branch lines, was sanctioned for 100% electrification in the budget of 2017-18. The total cost of the entire electrification work is Rs. 2,542.62 crores (approx).
The Indian Railways has attained the highest ever electrification of sections covering 6,015 Route Kilometer (RKM) in a single year during 2020-21. Despite the ongoing pandemic, it has surpassed the previous highest of 5,276 RKM achieved in 2018-19.
The much-awaited electrification reached New Jalpaiguri in the year 2019. Thereafter, electrification work in the New Jalpaiguri–New Coochbehar section was also completed last year and the operation of passenger trains with electric traction was started.
At present, only a few important passenger trains run with the electric locomotive from New Coochbehar, New Jalpaiguri, and Katihar, towards various destinations of our country in addition to several freight trains.
Continuing with the work of Railway Electrification, Northeast Frontier Railway has completed the inspection and speed trial-cum-current collection test for 334 Route KM in 2020-21. The Commissioner of Railway Safety (CRS) of Northeast Frontier Circle, Md. Latief Khan has inspected the newly electrified Rangiya-Kamakhya section on March 30, 2021, and the New Coochbehar-Shrirampur section on March 31, 2021, totalling 99 Route KM.
Earlier inspection of the portion from New Bongaigaon to Rangiya was also conducted. With this, Railways have come closer to fulfilling the long-standing demand of the people of Northeast of running trains with electric traction to and fro Guwahati, the gateway to the Northeastern region.
It may be mentioned that without CRS authorisation, passenger trains can’t be operated with an electric locomotive. The electrification work up to Guwahati is expected to be completed within the next few months. The entire tracks of Northeast are targeted to be electrified by the end of the year 2023.
The introduction of electric trains will lead to better connectivity of the Northeast region to the rest of India. It will also be a great boost for the environment as conventional engines use fossil fuel to produce energy which causes pollution.