INDIAN Railways (IR) has placed a Rs 131.8bn ($US 1.7bn) order with Siemens for the supply of 1200 6.6MW electric locomotives, which will be built from 2023 to 2034. 

According to the production plan, Siemens will supply five locomotives in 2024, followed by 35 in 2025 and 80 in 2026 and 2027. In the fifth and sixth years 100 locomotives will be delivered, followed by 160 units annually for the next five years until 2033-34. 

The Co-Co locomotives will built at the state-owned workshop at Dahod in Gujarat. IR has refurbished the workshop after India’s prime minister, Mr Narendra Modi, laid the foundation stone for the project in April.

The workshop was built in 1924 to overhaul steam locomotives and was later used to overhaul rolling stock for IR’s Western Railway zone. IR says electricity for the refurbished plant will come from renewable sources and the locomotives built there will be eligible for green manufacturing certification.

Four IR depots will each maintain 300 of the new Siemens fleet. They are: Kharagpur in West Bengal, Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh, Raipur in Chhattisgarh, and Pune in Maharashtra state. 

The contract follows IR's initiative to upgrade the power of its electric locomotives from 4.4MW to 6.6MW to improve haulage capability for freight trains of up to 4500 tonnes at an average speed of 75km/h. The new locomotives will have a maximum speed of 120km/h, and will also be equipped with the domestically-developed Kavach Train Collision Avoidance System.

IR invited bids for the locomotive contract in April and technical bids were opened in September. Siemens quoted a price of Rs 131.8bn at the rate of Rs 109m per locomotive, while Alstom - the only other bidder - offered Rs 233.6bn or Rs 194.6m per single unit. 

State-owned locomotive builder Chittaranjan Locomotive Works awarded Siemens a contract to supply integrated propulsion systems and transformers for the 6.6MW electric locomotives in 2019, with the aim of reducing energy consumption and cutting carbon emissions. 

For detailed data on locomotive orders in India and around the world, subscribe to IRJ Pro