PM Narendra Modi will flag off the country's first 12,000 horsepower (HP) electric locomotive from the Madhepura loco factory in Bihar on April 10.
With the launch, India will join an elite list countries, including Russia, China, Germany and Sewden, that have 12,000 HP and above capacity electric locomotives. Till now, the most powerful electric engine in Indian Railways was of 6,000 HP.
The heavy-haulage locos, with a maximum speed of 110 km per hour, will help decongest saturated routes by improving the speed and carrying capacity of freight trains.
Modi will also dedicate the Madhepura factory -- a high-value FDI joint venture with French rolling stock giant Alstom -- to the nation.
The Rs 20,000 crore project is expected to roll out a total of 800 high horsepower locos over a period of 11 years.
The total project cost includes Rs 1,300 crore for setting up the factory at Madhepura and two loco maintenance depots at Saharanpur (UTtar Pradesh) and Nagpur (Maharashtra), beside building 800 locos. The average cost of each locomotive is estimated to be Rs 25 crore.
According to the contract agreement, the first five locomotives will be imported while the remaining 795 will be manufactured in the country under the Make in India programme.
The rolling out of the first locomotive on April 10 will be followed by four more locos in the current fiscal.
About 35 locos will be manufactured at the Madhepura facility in the next fiscal (2019-20) and 60 in 2020-21.
After that, the factory will every year produce 100 locos till the target of 800 is reached over 11 years.
These heavy-haulage locos would be pressed into service to transport coal and iron ore, said a senior Railway Ministry official.
Equipped with insulated-gate bipolar transistor (IGBT)-based propulsion technology, the 12,000 HP locomotives will be compliant with Indian standards of freight transport.