In order to boost tourism in Veli, Kerala has launched India’s first solar-powered miniature train being billed as the country’s first of its kind. Inaugurated by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan the train would run on a 2.5 km rail route that would provide an opportunity to passengers to enjoy the scenic beauty of the region which lies on the outskirts of Thiruvananthapuram.
It was a part of a string of projects worth Rs. 60 crore taken up to elevate the facilities at the panoramic destination to international standards. The train will be especially an attraction for children. The eco-friendly solar-powered miniature railway will enable visitors to enjoy the beauty of nature.
The train complemented by a tunnel, station and a ticket office emulates the characteristics of a fully-equipped rail system. Comprising three compartments it can accommodate forty-five people at a time. Artificial steam spouted by the train engine has been modelled after the vintage steam locomotive which will definitely stir nostalgic feelings. A station house has also been designed in a traditional style whereas the surplus energy generated by the system will be routed to the Kerala State Electricity Board’s grid.
Elaborating more on the development works, Vijayan stated that the convention centre will have a digital display facility, an art gallery and an open-air theatre that will enhance the look of Veli village. Veli, a scenic spot on the outskirts of state capital Thiruvananthapuram where the lake meets the sea is where the tourist village is located. Veli billed as India’s eco-friendly tourist village is expected to transition into a hotspot for projects that will facilitate its transformation into a panoramic destination by all international standards. Accompanied by an urban park and a swimming pool at its outskirts, a convention centre, art cafe, and tourist facilitation centre are expected to elevate the city’s pull.
The first solar-powered train was launched on July 14, 2017. The first-ever solar-powered train ran between Sarai Rohilla in Delhi and Farukh Nagar in Haryana. A total of 16 solar panels each producing 300 Wp were fitted in six coaches. This was the first time in the world that solar panels are being used as grid in railways. The train has a power back-up and can run on battery for at least 72 hours.
Solar panels are fitted on roofs of trains and a battery backup is provided to ensure sufficient power in absence of sunlight. The power generated by these solar panels is sufficient to cater electrical needs of the coaches’ lights, fans and information display system.
Benefits of solar-powered train
It will reduce diesel consumption and the carbon signature of these commuter trains thereby reducing CO2 generation by many folds. By saving an estimated 1.2 lakh kilo litre of diesel every year, the railways will be able to pocket Rs 672 crore per year. The solar power will also help in reducing 2.7 lakh tonnes of carbon dioxide emission per year.
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