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India Railways

Sector Overview

Indian Railway is the fourth largest national railway system in the world by size, with a total route length of over 42,000 miles. In 2022, it carried about 8 billion passengers and 1.4 billion tons of freight. Indian Railways operates over 13,000 passenger trains and over 8,000 freight trains daily covering over 7,000 stations across India. Indian Railways is operated by Railway Board under the Ministry of Railways. The government allows 100% FDI in the railway sector. FDI inflows in railway-related components stood at $1.23 billion from April 2000-June 2022.  Rail infrastructure is expected to receive an investment of $715.41 billion by 2030.  

Locomotive Technical Upgrade

Indian Railways is planning for a technical upgrade to its locomotives. Indian Railways currently uses electric and diesel-electric locomotives to haul passenger and freight trains. These locomotives are manufactured in India by various locomotive production units of Indian Railways that are Chittaranjan Locomotive Works (CLW) at Chittaranjan, Banaras Locomotive Works (BLW) at Varanasi, and Patiala Locomotive Works (PLW) at Patiala. The locomotive production program of FY2023 and FY2024 received approval to produce 1180 locomotives per FY by the three units combined. Apart from these, companies like Bharat Heavy Electrical Limited (BHEL), Diesel Locomotive Factory, Marhowrah, and Electric Locomotive Factory (ELF), Madhepura are examples of other government and joint venture companies producing locomotives for Indian Railways. 

Goals to Achieve Net Zero Carbon Emission

Indian Railways is committed to achieving a net zero carbon emissions by 2030. To achieve this target, Indian Railways has decided to use hydrogen fueled locomotives for its rolling stock. As a beginning, Indian Railways (IR) has planned to run 35 Hydrogen trains under “Hydrogen for Heritage” program. In a bid to fast-track India’s transition to hydrogen trains, the Indian Railways is set to float tenders for procuring 35 trains powered by the green fuel. According to news reports, the estimated acquisition would be worth about $330 million. Besides, Indian Railways has also awarded a pilot project for retro fitment of Hydrogen Fuel cell on existing Diesel Electric Multiple Unit (DEMU) rake. Field trials of the first prototype is expected to commence in 2023-2024.  

Besides the above opportunities, the Indian rail sector offers various opportunities across different segments, including infrastructure development, technology advancement, and service enhancement. Other key opportunities in the Indian rail sector include: 

High-Speed Rail (Bullet Train): India has initiated high-speed rail projects, like the Mumbai-Ahmedabad corridor. There are opportunities in construction, technology, and project management for such ventures. $35 billion is earmarked for renovation of 600 stations.

Signaling and Telecommunications: Indian Railways is upgrading signaling systems, including the implementation of modern communication technologies. This provides opportunities for technology companies. 9320 miles of railway tracks are proposed to be converted into automatic signaling and 22,990 miles to be fitted Train Collision Avoidance System that is developed locally. 

Digitalization and IoT: The Indian Rail sector is also implementing IoT and digitalization solutions for predictive maintenance, passenger information systems, and asset management.

Intermodal Transport: Developing efficient connections between rail, road, and ports to create a seamless intermodal transportation system.

Skills and Training: Establishing training institutes for skill development in railway-related fields.

Entering to Indian Rail sector involves navigating complex regulatory and administrative procedures. Engaging with relevant government agencies and staying updated on policy changes is essential for businesses looking to explore these opportunities. Additionally, conducting thorough market research and building local partners can enhance your chances of success in the Indian Rail sector.

U.S. companies may consider the following local trade shows to showcase their technologies and meet Indian companies:
15th International Railway Equipment Exhibition, October 12-14, 2023, New Delhi

For market research, finding the right local partner, or establishing a local presence, the rail transportation team at the U.S. Commercial Service India stands ready to assist you.

If you wish to pursue market opportunities in this region, please reach out to your local U.S. office or contact the railway team at the U.S. Commercial Service in India