New Delhi (Sputnik) — In its continuing bid to go solar, Indian Railways launched its first 1,600 HP diesel electric multiple unit train with solar-powered coaches, but in May this year, passengers made away with 337 headphones meant for the entertainment systems from the Tejas Express after its maiden trip.
"The train has anti-theft feature loaded with special keys and a power system which can't be used at home," Nirdosh Gupta, an engineer associated with the train, said.
The train will run on diesel but the entire electrical needs of its cabins, including lighting, fans and information display systems, will be powered by solar energy produced from the solar panels fitted on the roofs of coaches. Indian Railways estimates that a single solar coach will reduce carbon dioxide generation by 9 tons per year.
Indian Railways calls the train a "Make in India" project, wherein all parts of the train, including solar, panels are made in Indian factories. Indian Railways will add 24 more coaches with solar systems within the next six months.
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"Indian Railways is trying to increase use of non-conventional energy. More solar-powered trains may be inducted in the future," Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu said.
Normally, DEMU trains provide power for its passenger comfort systems — lights and fans — from a diesel-driven generator fitted on its driving power car.
"A solar power train with six trailer coaches will save about 21,000 liters of diesel and thereby save $18,630 every year. Savings for a 10-coach rake with eight trailer coaches will increase proportionately. These benefits will continue for the entire 25-year lifetime of the rake," Anil Saxena, director general of Indian Railways' Public Relations Department, said.
Indian Railways has already set a target of 1,000 MW solar plants in the next five years.