Guwahati, Monday, November 14, 2016

NFR to complete electrification by Dec 2019
Pranjal Bhuyan
 GUWAHATI, Nov 13 - The Indian Railways is looking to complete the electrification project on the Raninagar Jalpaiguri-New Bongaigaon-Guwahati section of the Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) by December 2019.

 Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu had laid the foundation stone for the project at Maligaon here on Thursday.

Railway officials said that the project for electrification from Raninagar Jalpaiguri to New Bongaigaon and then from New Bongaigaon to Guwahati was entrusted with Rail Vikash Nigam Limited (RVNL), a Mini Ratna public sector undertaking under the Union Ministry of Railways in 2014 and 2015 respectively on turnkey basis at a total cost of Rs 655.55 crore.

Under the project, 382 kms of the route and 687 kms track of railway lines will be electrified. The tender process is expected to be completed within a short period.

Officials said completion of the project will ensure that Guwahati has a seamless electrified route to cities like Kolkata and New Delhi and it will also eliminate the need for changing locomotives from electric to diesel and vice versa.

It will also ensure reduction of journey time and open up the possibility of increasing speed of trains.

Various organisations and local citizens of the State, including the Assam Rail Passengers’ Association (APRA) had been for years demanding electrification of the tracks in the region.

Electrification of railway routes from Katihar to Raninagar Jalpaiguri is in an advanced stage and expansion of electrification upto Guwahati will ensure seamless movement from the region to other parts of the country.

The 25 KV railway electrification project of Raninagar Jalpaiguri-New Bongaigaon-Guwahati section of NFR will also facilitate introduction of economical and environment-friendly mode of high-speed trains and also introduction of Main Line Electric Multiple Unit (MEMU) trains providing fast suburban transport similar to Mumbai, Kolkata and Delhi.

The electrification project will also include upgradation of signalling system in the section for faster movement of trains. Signalling upgradation work will be taken up at around 35 stations along the route.

The electrification project of Raninagar Jalpaiguri-New Bongaigaon-Guwahati section will include setting up of seven 220 and 132 KV traction substations and seven maintenance depots and sheds.

Officials said that Indian Railways has a long-term goal to electrify all railway routes in the country to reduce carbon footprint and reduce pollution.

Prabhu had recently announced that Indian Railways would electrify 24,400 km of additional railway lines under ‘Mission Electrification’ within the next five years to add to the existing 28,000 kms of electrified railway lines in India. This would make 90 per cent of railway tracks in India electrified.