This paper identifies different potential pathways to decarbonization of Indian Railways by 2030 and examines their cost-effectiveness and feasibility.
India currently stands in a moment of opportunity in which it is evident that transitioning to low-carbon systems can bring about economic growth. One key sector of the Indian economy that could set a strategic example for decarbonization and meeting India’s 2030 targets is the rail transport system, and specifically Indian Railways (IR), India’s national railway service.
This report identifies different potential pathways to decarbonization of IR by 2030 and examines their cost-effectiveness and feasibility. It finds that a first and essential step to decarbonization of IR is to transition to an electrified rail network, and away from a diesel-powered rail network. For both the traction and non-traction segments, it finds that decarbonization pathways are more cost-effective than business-as-usual, and that the most cost-effective pathway is captive generation, at an accelerated rate of decarbonization. Given the stronger greater potential for cost savings in the non-traction segment, it recommends that IR prioritize the decarbonization of the non-traction segment.