Until now, Indian Railways’ AC coaches were powered by electricity, but that is about to change, as the AC coaches will soon be powered with solar energy. In order to bring the idea to reality, the Integral Coach Factory has started a project along with IIT Madras and will design coaches which will be capable of drawing power from the sun for interior lighting and cooling.
This marks the first time that Indian Railways will be attempting to draw solar energy in order to power the coaches. Indian Railways is considered to be the world’s biggest railway network and now it plans to play with technology as it experiments with using alternative sources of energy to reduce the dependence on fossil fuels or the power grid.
It has been predicted that there will be a huge demand for air conditioned coaches in the future. The demand is also very likely going to increase spending on diesel-powered coaches. Even in other countries, it is rare to use solar power on trains. A Senior ICF official said, “We have asked IIT Madras to find ways to tap solar power and use it for interior lighting and air conditioning.”
The official went on to say that a MoU was signed in July 2013 and that they have started preliminary discussions with professors to work out different modalities in order to develop an appropriate model.
Photo Credits: PNR Status