Exclusive Interview with Mr. Gunjan Vakharia, Head of Mobility Business, Siemens Limited

Interview Insights:

Rail Analysis: Please let us know more about the recent win of the 9000 HP locomotive project? Can it be considered as a step further in Indian Railways journey and what are the major benefits Indian Railways will get with this project?

Mr. Gunjan Vakharia: Siemens partnership with the Indian Railways (IR) combines innovation with responsibility to deliver reliable, safe, efficient, and intelligent technologies. As a trusted partner of the Indian Railways, Siemens Mobility is set to deliver 1,200 Electric Locomotives of 9000 horsepower (HP) and provide 35 years of full-service maintenance.

This will help them in improving haulage capacity, speed, scale, and utilization of rolling stocks on its freight corridors. As part of the contract, Siemens will design, manufacture, commission and test the locomotives. Deliveries are planned over an eleven-year period, and the partnership includes 35 years of full-service maintenance. The contract has a very high significance as it proves that we can make in India for India and for the world. For us, the partnership signifies ‘Wheels of Progress’.

The 9000 HP locomotives will contribute in a major way to the Indian Railways achieving the goals set in National Rail Plan. It will help India achieve its ambitious goal of creating the world’s largest green rail network, as our locomotives will save more than 800 million tons of CO2 emissions over their lifecycle.



Rail Analysis: Please share with your project landscape in India in the railway and metro sector right now. How is Siemens innovating in the field of electrification of railways? What all are further steps Is it taking to make a systematic effort in the “Make in India” initiative?

Mr. Gunjan Vakharia: There are two aspects to the mobility transformation in India. It is common knowledge that rail is the most economical mode of transportation for both passengers and freight. As the Indian economy gallops towards the $5 trillion target in 2029-30, it is imperative that the share of rail in freight movement increases from the current 27 percent to above 45 percent. The second aspect is that the overall GDP growth will be reflected in growing urbanization which will require green public transportation systems.

One of our key priorities is to bring in cutting edge and proven global technology innovations to make rail transportation in India more sustainable and cost-effective. Siemens has been supporting the railways’ efforts towards 100 percent electrification. Our aim is to be a key partner in India’s quest for safer, greener & smarter railways, making in India for India and the world.

“We take great pride in partnering Indian Railways and Metro operators in landmark projects like ‘Vande Bharat’, Electrification & Signalling projects for Mainline and Metros, providing advanced digital solutions and our latest offering the 9000 HP electric locomotives.”



Rail Analysis: Please tell us about your joint venture with TRIL Urban Transport private limited? Is it only specific for the Pune Metro project? What are the growth criteria you see in other projects and is this technically beneficial for both companies?

Mr. Gunjan Vakharia: Siemens has been a reliable partner providing state-of-the-art metro rail solutions in India. A Joint Venture between Tata and Siemens under Public Private Partnership Route (PPP) will develop the metro corridor from Hinjewadi to Shivajinagar. This will enable cost-effective, comfortable and sustainable transport alternative for social well-being and economic development of Pune. It is the maiden metro project under the New Metro Policy via Public Private Partnership (PPP) route. As urbanization grows rapidly, their need for obtaining intelligent infrastructure solutions and enable smarter, more sustainable transportation network is also rising. The New Metro Policy will help in speedy implementation of projects whilst providing authorities with efficient alternative to plan and execute mass rapid transit system in their respective regions.



Rail Analysis: Please tell us more about the ongoing campaign of Siemens – #PartnersInProgress – which has been dedicated to Indian Railways on completion of their journey of 170 years?

Mr. Gunjan Vakharia: On April 16, Indian Railways celebrated 170 glorious years of service to the nation. The #PartnersInProgress campaign is our tribute to Indian Railways by showcasing miniature styled Mainline, Metro, and Freight trains with advanced solutions. The purpose was to tell the story of Indian Railways that spreads across the sprawling landscape of the country, touching the life of every Indian as an ode to celebrating 170 years of foundation. For the past seven decades, Siemens has been a partner in progress for Indian Railways, providing cutting-edge technologies and solutions to power sustainable growth which includes cutting-edge solutions like 9000 HP Electric Locomotives.



Rail Analysis: What is your opinion on the future of Indian metro’s infrastructure & technology landscape by 2030? What are the new technologies and methods needed to adopt and make the future ready?

Mr. Gunjan Vakharia: Since the turn of the century, India’s place on the global stage has been increasingly defined by growth: of its economy and its population. Together, this makes for a case-in point for the largest urban transformation in a generation.

“As per Government of India estimates, India’s urban population will cross 60 crore by 2030 and over 50 percent of the population will be living in urban areas by 2050. This is staggering and infrastructure development is being undertaken at speed and scale.”

The most sustainable and cost-effective approach would be mass rapid transport systems, metros, and integrated mobility. But to prepare for this growth and make a success of urbanization, India’s cities will have to evolve at speed. They must overcome infrastructural and logistical challenges by creating green public transportation systems, cleaning up power and water supply, and improving communications technology connectivity for all citizens.



Rail Analysis: Siemens was a winner at the recent 4th Rail & Metro Awards event 2023 edition hosted by Rail Analysis. Can you please share more about this recognition achievements and your feedback for the event?

Mr. Gunjan Vakharia: Rail Analysis Rail & Metro Award is one of the most sought-after event in the industry. Receiving the prestigious “Team of The Year” award was a moment which all of us will cherish for a long time. Winning the 9000 HP Electric Locomotive Project has given us more than 9000 reasons to beam with pride, but no feeling better than being part of a unit which was felicitated at the event. Special thanks to Rail Analysis and the eminent jury for this prestigious recognition, we are elated and committed to drive the railway modernization to enable safer, greener, and productive ecosystems through our advanced technologies and solution.

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