India’s rail network is getting a green makeover. Last week India’s railway minister Mr. Suresh Prabhu flagged the country's first compressed natural gas-powered passenger train, which will run on a dual fuel system on the Rewari-Rohtak route of the northern railway zone.
This will be India’s first commercial passenger train to be powered by alternate fuel but it is by no means the country's first attempt to make train travel more eco-friendly. In an earlier article, we wrote about how Indian railways has switched over to environmentally-friendly bio-toilets for its new coaches - seeking to reduce train emissions seems a logical next step. Indian railway is exploring opportunities using dual fuel systems (CNG and diesel) to power locomotives, with the view cutting down trains greenhouse gas emissions and reducing fuel costs. As it stands, the trains run on 20 percent CNG and 80 percent diesel with the plan to increase CNG usage to 50 percent.
The new CNG trains are the latest breakthrough in the effort to curb rising carbon emissions and pollutants. The buzz around town is that India will soon also come out with train engines powered by LNG technology in order to enable higher fuel carrying capacity.