Indian Railways runs its most powerful 'Made in India' locomotive

It will also lead to considerable savings in energy consumption through regenerative braking. 

Indian Railways runs its most powerful 'Made in India' locomotive
Photo: Twitter/@PIB_India

New Delhi: The Indian Railways on Monday (May 18, 2020) became the sixth country in the world to join the elite club of producing high horsepower locomotive indigenously. It was the first time, a high horsepower locomotive was operationalised on a broad gauge track in the world. 

The locomotive has been produced under the Make in India programme. The project was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on April 10, 2018. 

The first 12000 HP made in India Locomotive, manufactured by Madhepura Electric Loco Factory situated in Bihar, was put into operation by Indian Railways from Pt Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Jn Station.

The loco is named WAG12 with Number 60027. The train departed from Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Station at 14:08 hrs in long haul formation for Dhanbad Division of East Central Railway, consisting of 118 wagons which travelled from Pt Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Jn to Barwadih via Dehri-on-Sone, Garhwa Road.

These locomotives are state of art IGBT based, 3 phase drive, 9000 KW (12000 horsepower) electric locomotive. 

The locomotive is capable of maximum tractive effort of 706 kN, which is capable of starting and running a 6000 T train in the gradient of 1 in 150. 

The locomotive with twin Bo-Bo design having 22.5 T (Tonnes) axle load is upgradable to 25 Tonnes with design speed of 120 kmph. 

This locomotive will be a game-changer for further movement of coal trains for Dedicated Freight Corridor. 

The locomotives can be tracked through GPS for its strategic use through embedded software and Antennae being lifted through the servers on the ground through a microwave link.

The locomotive is capable of working on railway tracks with conventional OHE lines as well as on Dedicated Freight corridors with high rise OHE lines. The locomotive has air-conditioned driver cabs on either side. The locomotive is equipped with regenerative braking system which provides substantial energy savings during operations. These high horsepower locomotives will help to decongest the saturated tracks by improving the average speed of freight trains.

The Madhepura factory is the largest integrated Green Field facility built to the highest standards of quality and safety with a production capacity of 120 locomotives and spread across a massive 250 acres. Madhepura Electric Locomotive Pvt. Ltd. (MELPL) will manufacture 800 State of the Art 12000 HP Electric Freight Locomotives in 11 years and being one of the most power full-electric locomotives in the world will increase the speed of freight trains and will allow faster, safer and heavier freight trains to move across the country, thus reducing congestion in traffic. 

It will also lead to considerable savings in energy consumption through regenerative braking. 

As part of the project, the factory along with township has been set up in Madhepura, Bihar with a capacity to manufacture 120 locomotives per year. 

The project will create more than 10,000 direct and indirect jobs in the country. More than Rs 2,000 crores has already been invested in the project by the company.

Along with the factory, socio-economic development in Madhepura is being driven by this project. As part of CSR initiative skill centres are being set up in Madhepura to impart training to local people.

The prototype locomotive was delivered in March 2018. Based on the test results having design issues, the complete locomotive including bogies has been redesigned. 

The new design of locomotive has been inspected by RDSO at the Madhepura factory and cleared for dispatch from the factory on November 16, 2019. 

Further RDSO has conducted oscillation trials at various speeds up to 132 kmph and the locomotive has passed oscillation trials successfully. 

The design was completed for the whole locomotive in a record time of four to six months and despite the initial hiccups and the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, it could not dampen the spirit of August initiative of IR, surpassing all odds, it could secure the permission of the Bihar Govt to resume operations at the Madhepura Factory putting the project back on track.