INDIA: Despite the constraints imposed by the coronavirus pandemic, Indian Railways has been pushing ahead to meet the government’s target of electrifying the country’s entire broad gauge network by December 2023.

The Indian Railway Board reported on April 1 that a record 6 015 route-km of electrification had been commissioned during the 2020-21 financial year to March 31. Executive Director, Electrification, Bhupender Singh Bodh told Railway Gazette International that IR is very satisfied with what had been achieved.

The total for the 12 months is a significant increase on the 4 378 km wired in 2019-20 and the 5 276 km completed in 2018-19. It included a number of ‘missing links’ to complete the energisation of 15 key corridors.

Electrified corridors completed by the wiring of missing links in 2020-21
Mumbai – Howrah via Jabalpur 2 159
Delhi – Darbhanga – Jaynagar 1 279
Mumbai – Bareilly 1 470
Gorakhpur – Varanasi via Aunrihar 231
Jabalpur – Howrah 1 151
Jabalpur – Nainpur – Gondia – Ballarshah 488
Chennai – Trichy 401
Mumbai – Kurudwadi – Mohol 425
Indore – Guna – Gwalior – Amritsar 1 344
Delhi – Jaipur – Udaipur 741
New Delhi – Sri Rampur via Patna and Katihar 1 635
Ajmer – Howrah 2 013
Mumbai – Marwar 831
Howrah – Sri Rampur via New Farakka 744
Delhi – Moradabad – Tanakpur 395
Total km 15 307

The wiring of 24 080 route-km over the past seven years has increased the electrified proportion of the 64 689 km broad-gauge network from 40% to 71%. This has been matched by a comparable uplift in the use of electric traction.


Taking the Eastern Region as an example, the board says the proportion of gross tonne-km hauled by electric traction increased from 58% in 2019-20 to 85% of freight and 98% of passenger traffic in the first nine months of 2020-21. Nationally, as at March 31, the electrified network accounted for 79% of all passenger traffic and 74% of freight, but only 38% of traction energy costs.

Over the past six years, the government has approved 204 separate electrification projects totalling 30 490 route-km, recognising the significant cost savings offered by a rolling programme of wiring work and the lower cost of electric operation compared to diesel.

IR reports that 100% electrification has been achieved in the states of Chandigarh and Puducherry, as well as Delhi. ‘Major resource earning states’ such as Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana and Bihar are expected to be fully electrified by March 2022. As yet, Assam has the lowest proportion of electrified line, at just 6%; its first route went live on February 18. No other state now has less than 37%.

Rs75·4bn has been budgeted for electrification during the 2021-22 financial year, up from Rs66bn in 2020-21. The board has set a target of wiring another 6 000 route-km during the year, completing a further 13 corridors, followed by 6 500 km in 2021-22 and the remaining 6 308 km in 2022-23.