40 Diesel-electric Broad-gauge locomotives to be purchased from South Korea
Muffizul Sadiq, Senior Correspondent | Banglanews24.com Update: 2017-09-20 8:03:04 AM
Dhaka: Railway Ministry had earlier decided to purchase 20 broad gauge diesel-electric locomotives (engines) for Bangladesh Railway. However, the government will now double the order and purchase 40 engines simultaneously to manage the need for new trains and to meet skyrocketing passenger needs, by increasing the number of rail-coaches and locos.
These locos can use with both diesel and electric power simultaneously. Modern safe and quality engine management will also be introduced. Each engine will be bought from South Korea (Hyundai Rotem - Bilal).
The total expenditure on the purchase of 40 broad gauge diesel electric locomotives (engine) will be 1 thousand 931 crore taka. Asian Development Bank (ADB) will provide Tk 1,510 crore in total expenditure. 50 percent of the debt will be concessional and the remaining 50 percent will be market-based. Interest on market-based loans will be Libor plus 50 percent. And interest rates on concessional loans will be 2 percent.
It will be possible to introduce modern, safe and qualitatively advanced rail travel through use of newer locomotives. So that some of the old and expired engine can be replaced and the lack of rolling stock in the broad gauge section can be corrected.
Each railway engine would cost Tk 48.27 million. However, the average unit price of each engine was fixed at 36 crores. But the cost of buying coaches from South Korea is also high. Apart from this, the expenditure has been set 20 percent higher for the cost of higher configuration in the locos.
Taka 25 million has been also added for capital and maintenance spares. It will take three years to get the locos on rails in Bangladesh. So the ministry has started the process of buying the locos with haste at this time.
The railway ministry's acting secretary Mofazzel Hossain told banglanews, "We will collect 40 new broad gauge rail engines. These will be collected through the international tender call. New engines are added to the collection as older ones are decommissioned from the fleet."
"This is a continuous process. If buying is halted there will be a crisis. Because the locos will not be available in less time on demand. It takes one to two and a half years for the build process. Starting now will take three to three and a half years to get the locos. But the Korean locos are very good," he mentioned.
He also mentioned that the purchase of 40 broad gauge diesel electric locomotives for Bangladesh Railway are a part of the Railway's long-term project.
All engines will be coming from Korea from three more years until June 2021 period. Project approval committee (PEC) of the physical infrastructure department of Planning Commission has been approved at the meeting of the Ministry of Railways on Monday (September 17th). The project will be presented at the ECNEC meeting for faster approvals.
Service engineers will be appointed for repair projects in the next three years at the time of buying these locos. Their payroll will cost 4 crore 20 lakhs. Foreign engineers will be appointed to repair engines as well. That expenditure will be around 32 million taka as well.
At present there are 275 locomotives in the Bangladesh Railway. Of these, 181 are meter gauge and 94 are broad gauge units. The economic life expectancy of these engines was originally set for 20 years.
In the meantime, 155 engines have reached at least 30 years of age. These outdated and expired rail engines have been kept running with expensive repairs and higher than normal energy (fuel) expenditure due to severe demand.
Due to being older models, the required spare parts for these locos are either not available or are rare and expensive.
The ministry feels it is high time to withdraw some of these old engines from the fleet of railway locos. It will now be possible to replace 40 of the oldest locomotives and bring up efficiency and service availability standards.
ADB is financing mthis deal. They recently granted $360 million loan to BR. IMO railway should ask for spare manufacturing rights too. This iss entirely within BR's capability as they currently manufactures custom built spare to support the old generations off locos inn their fleet.