The first step towards a greener rail network in India has already been taken. Rail Minister Suresh Prabhu will flag off India's first compressed natural gas (CNG) powered train from Rewari today. The train will run on the Rewari-Rohtak route. It is based on a dual fuel system involving CNG as well as diesel fuel. This is the first instance of an alternative fuel being used in train operations.
The usage of CNG-based trains will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by Indian Railways and will also help in decreasing the consumption of diesel. The CNG engine emits fewer toxic pollutants and also helps cut carbon monoxide emissions by nearly 90%. It even cuts carbon dioxide emissions by 25% and nitrogen oxide emissions by 35%.
Currently, the Rewari passenger train will consume over 20 percent of CNG in its 81 km long journey. The train will cover the distance in nearly two hours. Railways have also modified the 1,400 HP engine to operate on dual fuel mode. Earlier, a trial run was conducted by the Railways.
More emphasis is now being laid on alternative fuel options with the focus being on wind and solar power as well. This will help lighten the burden on conventional sources of energy by shifting the burden to renewable and cleaner sources of energy. Railways are also working on developing a far more efficient CNG conversion technology which will allow trains to utilize over 60 percent CNG and help pace up the switch to LNG mode of rail travel in future.