An Exclusive Interview With Mr. Lalit Trivedi, CME , Integral Coach Factory

An Exclusive Interview With Mr. Lalit Trivedi, CME , Integral Coach Factory

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On the recent announcement by ICF of launching India’s First Solar Power DEMU , Rail Analysis reached our to Mr Lalit Trivedi , Chief Mechanical Engineer , Integral Coach Factory for his views on the same .

Brief Profile : Mr Trivedi is  in charge of manufacturing close to 2500 rail carriages every year including manufacturing of stainless steel coaches, electric train sets , diesel Train sets , SPARTS , observation cars , air-conditioned and non air-conditioned rail coaches.
Their team at ICF have just finished in 16-17 executing an order for manufacturing 72 electric train sets for the Mumbai train network are are now currently seized with execution of export order for supplying Diesel Train sets for Srilanka Railways 

ICF celebrated its Diamond jubilee (1955-2015) and flagged off its 50000th coach on 6th July 2015.

In May 2018 , Limca Book of records has certified that ICF is the world’s largest single location Rail coach manufacturing factory.

Mr Trivedi is Responsible for the manufacturing of ‘ High Speed Rail Coaches’ – German LHB design fit that are capable of running at 200 Km/hour, with an annual production capacity of 300 coaches (2015 to 2016). This was a green field project. 

The second phase has commenced and the plan is to ramp up production to 900 coaches per year.The budget for the 1st phase was USD 35 Million and about USD 50 Million for the 2nd phase. This has been the lowest budget high speed coach manufacturing project executed globally in the shortest period of time.

Another Recent Achievement by ICF has been turning out 1st 3 phase IGBT based state of art KOLKATA Metro rake. This was flagged off by Chairman Railway Board Sh Mittal from ICF on 3rd July 2017.

Background to the Announcement : 

On 14th July 2017 , Indian Railways launched its first 1600 HHP solar DEMU train. It is one of the environmental friendly measures taken by the railways which will also have financial benefits.

Features :

  • Sitting Capacity : 89 people per coach.
  • No. of Coaches : 10
  • Total cost of the Train : Rs 13.54 crore
  • The train will travel from Sarai Rohilla station in Delhi to Garhi Harsaru Junction, Farukh Nagar in Haryana.
  • The train will replace the existing non-solar powered panel on the same route and run at the speed of 110 kmph.
  • There has been no change in the fare and the journey will take nearly one-and-half hours.
  • To make the journey comfortable the seats have been provided with cushions
  • There are rakes for luggage and a display board in each coach.

Coaches Specification :

  • The train consists of 2 motor coaches and 8 passenger coaches
  • Cost of Passenger Coaches : Rs 1 crore each
  • Cost of Motor Coaches : Rs 2.5 crore each
  • Cost of Solar Panels on 6 coaches : Rs 9 lakh each
  • There are 16 solar panels of 300 watt capacity each in a coach.
  • The energy generated through the panel will be stored in batteries and can be used during night as well.
  • The two passenger coaches which do not have solar panel will operate on diesel.
  • The train has two parallel power sources solar power and diesel and in case of failure of the former, it will switch on to the latter.
  • The train is built at Integral Coach Factory in Chennai

Savings & Benefits of  the First 1600 HHP Solar DEMU Train :

  • This initiative will save diesel equivalent of Rs 2 lakh per coach per annum.
  • It will result in reduction in 9 tonnes of carbon dioxide emission per coach per annum.
  • Around Rs 672 crore will be saved per annum.

Exclusive Interview by Rail Analysis :

Rail Analysis: Railways has recently launched India’s First Solar Power DEMU Train, can you please tell our readers that how the train operates on dual fuel? What are the advantages in running the trains on dual fuel system? 

Mr. Trivedi – The first DEMU train fitted with roof solar panels was made at Integral Coach Factory, Chennai. The solar powered DEMU has polycrystalline SPV panels embedded over the roof of coaches. These panels provide power to operate the lights and fans (called Hotel Load in Railway parlance), of the train. In thefirst Solar powered DEMU made at ICF, 6 coaches were fitted with solar panels out of 10 coaches in the train. Each coach has a capacity of 4.5 kWp and it generates about 20 units a day.

Surplus power generated is stored in the batteries provided in the coach and used during night time. The solar panels will save about Rs 2 lakhs per coach per year by reducing consumption of diesel to the generator sets. Presently, the solar panels are costing Rs 9 lakhs per coach. Indian Railways  Organisation for Alternate Fuels (IROAF), a subsidiary of Indian Railways, is the provider of solar panels and more such coaches are planned in the future. As the next step, lighter and advanced flexi- Panels are planned. This will further save fuel on account of lighter weight. Duel fuel DEMU trains are also made at ICF. The engines powering the DEMU train use Diesel as well as CNG (Compressed Natural Gas) as fuel. About, 25% diesel substitution is achieved. 16 such DEMU power cars are made so far. CNG, being clean and safe fuel, is environment friendly and reduces emission .



Rail Analysis: Can these DEMU engines be added on the existing trains of the Indian Railways?

Mr. Trivedi – The DEMU is run as separate train set. The DEMU trains are formed by attaching self-propelled power units, known as Basic Units. Each basic unit is self contained and normally has one Power car (containing the Diesel engine propulsion system) and 3 to 4 trailing cars which are wired together. DEMU train has Driving cabs on both ends of the train, which enable quick turnaround at destinations. Therefore, DEMU engines cannot be attached to regular trains of Indian Railways, which are hauled by a Locomotive, and attached with many trailing coaches.

Rail Analysis: ICF has also manufactured CNG powered coaches for Railways, can you please throw some light on these coaches and tell us how these coaches are different from the recently manufactured Solar powered coaches?

Mr. Trivedi – As already clarified in the first question, Duel Fuel DEMU engines, which run on both Diesel and CNG, are in use on Indian Railways. The Duel fuel Power car has provision for storage of CNG cascade beside the engine room. Nevertheless, Solar panels can also be provided over roof of the coaches, which will further increase fuel savings. While CNG is used to power the engine of DEMU
train, Solar panels provides power to the Hotel load, i.e. Lights and fans of the train compartments. Both of these arrangements are possible on the same train simultaneously as they work independent
of each other.

Rail Analysis: Indian Railways is currently working to minimize the cost of fuel, for this it has also launched some CNG powered trains. So which is more beneficial on account of cost saving CNG Trains or Solar powered Trains?

Mr. Trivedi – CNG as well as solar powered DEMU trains are cost savers. These alternate fuels reduce emission from the engines and save the environment from polluting gases. Solar power, obviously, is the best as it is the cleanest form of energy available easily.

Rail Analysis:  Can you also tell us more about the ICF project with Kolkata Metro and whether ICF shall now be looking for bidding for Metro Projects, perhaps in the future? 

Mr. Trivedi – Metro Railway in Kolkata is run with the coaches made by ICF since 1980s. Presently, ICF is making 26 rakes (each containing 8 coaches) of air conditioned metro coaches on stainless steel body with aesthetic looks and improved passenger amenities. These coaches are comparable to other metro coaches being supplied by multinational railway companies. In fact, the metro coaches made by ICF cost only half that of imported metro coaches. ICF made metro coaches contain indigenous propulsion equipment as per the Prime Minister’s ‘Make In India’  policy. With the above background, ICF is fully geared with adequate infrastructure and capability to manufacture coaches for other Metro systems in India and looking for opportunities to make Metro coaches for other metro systems.

Rail Analysis: What are the Future expansion plans of ICF? Our readers would be keen to know more about the same? 

Mr. Trivedi – Today, ICF is producing 2000+ coaches in a year. ICF plans to touch 3000+ mark soon, for which actions are on hand. Two expansion projects costing Rs 350 Crores each are under execution to increase productivity and completely switch over to stainless steel body coaches. ICF will completely switch over to manufacture of stainless steel body coaches in 2 years.

A state-of- the-art high speed train set for 160 kmph (nick-named ‘Train-18’) is developed and will be rolled out by March 2018. This self-propelled EMU type train will be fully air-conditioned with automatic doors, sealed vestibules, plush seats and many more improved interior features, and the exteriors will be aesthetically finished with aerodynamically provided driving ends.

ICF is also exploring manufacture of light weight aluminium body high speed coaches in the near future for which space is being earmarked.. The infrastructure and technology are being looked at and it is planned to roll-out first set of Aluminium body coaches in near future.

Rail Analysis: Any additional information for our readers ?

Mr. Trivedi – ICF has positioned itself as a premier rail coach manufacturer for mainline, EMU, DEMU and Metro trains. ICF caters to the requirements of domestic as well as for export market. ICF is currently executing an order for supply of 78 DEMU coaches to Srilanka.

CHOU-EN- LAI, Premier of the People’s Republic of China during his visit to ICF in 1956 had recorded in visitors’ book as, This is a modernized Coach Factory. It is worthwhile for the Chinese to come and learn. This Factory is well-built and well-organised. The technology and training given are very good.
It is worthwhile for the orients to take pride of it.

ICF is going through a great transformational change to achieve and exceed the technology level of peer group. (Europe ,China) Limca Book has recognized ICF as the World’s Biggest Single Location Rail Coach Manufacturing Facility, having produced more than 50,000 Coaches involving more than 500 variants in 2016. 

ICF is a certified Green Factory. It sources its entire energy requirements for day-to- day operation from its own wind mills of 10.5 MW capacity, located at Tirunelveli district of Tamilnadu. ICF is also ahead in tapping solar power. Solar powered water heaters and street lights are already operatioal. A 2 MWp roof top solar PV system under PPP is under installation. 

ICF cares for the society and environment. ICF lake ensures almost 100% water harvesting. The new and revamped Chennai Rail Museum at ICF house heritage and rail technology exhibits. CRM attracts people from all walks of life and is a treat to watch . 

Disclaimer : The views expressed are in the personal capacity of Mr Trivedi and need not necessarily represent official views of government . 


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