India launches solar powered train

India has joined the small club of countries to run trains on alternative fuel with the launch of its first solar-powered diesel electrical train in New Delhi.VIDEO: REUTERS

REUTERS (NEW DELHI) - India has joined the small club of countries to run trains on alternative fuel with the launch of its first solar-powered diesel electrical train in New Delhi. 

Those in New Delhi, one of the world's most polluted cities, were the first to get a glimpse of the solar-powered diesel electric locomotive.

"Taking the environment into consideration, the Indian Railways has launched a 1,600 horsepower train of six coaches. The coaches are solar powered and it also has a battery bank for use in the night time. This is first of its kind train," said Anil Saxena, railway board's director general for public relations.

16 solar panels sit on top of each carriage and are used to power the electrical appliances on board - replacing diesel generators.

The move is all part of keeping India on track to meet its Paris climate change agreements.

"Indian Railways is focusing on clean fuel, so we are revising fuel policy. This will benefit the railways, society as well as the country," said Suresh Prabhu, railway minister.

The train will snake its way from Delhi to India's northern Haryana state.

The railways estimate it will reduce diesel consumption by around 21,000 litres every year with a savings of US$18,000.

24 more trains are also set to be fitted with the same system over the next six months, knocking a bit more off the bill.