INDIA: What the Ministry of Railways says is India’s first rake of aluminium bodied wagons has been put into service, with the aim of improving rail freight efficiency and supporting domestic industry.
The 61 bottom-discharge wagons have been produced by Besco Ltd’s wagon division in partnership with RDSO and aluminium producer Hindalco, which has supplied high strength alloy plates from its Hirakud rolling plant and extrusions from its Renukoot factory.
The production of wagons is a precursor to Hindalco’s plan to produce ‘lighter, cost-efficient and durable’ aluminium bodies for passenger trains.
‘The silvery-white metal is the preferred choice for metro trains worldwide’, said Hindalco, and the wagons will ’fast-track the country’s ambitious plan to modernise freight transportation and enable large carbon savings’.
The rake of 61 wagons is 180 tonnes lighter than a steel equivalent, with a payload 5% to 10% higher, and could save more than 14 500 tonnes of CO2 over its lifetime.
The cost is around 35% higher than a steel wagon, but higher corrosion and abrasion resistance means maintenance costs are expected to be lower.
The wagons will be used to carry coal to Hindalco’s Aditya smelter.
‘This is a proud moment for the country and our drive for indigenisation as these lightweight aluminium wagons are a big innovation for Indian Railways’, said Minister of Railways, Communications, Electronics & IT Ashwini Vaishnaw when he flagged off the wagons from Bhubaneswar station on October 16.