Indian Railways has introduced a first-of-its kind emission test car (ETC) to test emission levels of diesel locomotives at maintenance and manufacturing depots across the country.

Built at the Integral Coach Factory (ICF) at Perambur in Tamilnadu state, the country’s first ETC uses mass emission measuring equipment built in Japan.

ETC is claimed to be first mobile emission testing vehicle in the rail sector, enabling Indian Railways to frame emission standards for long-haul diesel locomotives and diesel cars. Indian Research Design and Standards Organisation (RDSO) Director General V Ramachandran said this is the first step of Indian Railways towards controlling emissions on par with international standards.

"The aim of using the ETC is to test exhaust emission levels, analyse engine performance, improve fuel efficiency and reduce environmental pollution," Ramachandran said.

"The machine will also be used to set emission standards on a par with European and US emission norms."

The $1.8m ETC is a mobile vehicle fitted with the emission testing device which can be deployed at diesel sheds and coaching depots across the 17 zones of the railways.

The ETC will help measure oxides of nitrogen, particulate matter, total hydrocarbons, methane hydrocarbons, smoke opacity, carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide in locomotives.

It will also measure the performance of the engines, improve their fuel efficiency and reduce environmental pollution.

ETC will also transmit data through a satellite link to the Engine Development Directorate of the RDSO which will analyse and specify emission standards for locomotives. The emission test car was first sanctioned by the Railway Board under its works programme in 2007-08.

Initially, RDSO plans to conduct a correlation exercise with micro electo mechanical systems and pilot ETC on five diesel locomotives at the ICF locomotive shed.