New Delhi: Indian Railways will soon manufacture diesel locomotives that can also haul trains by drawing power through overhead wires.
“We will be manufacturing dual-mode locomotives to run trains on diesel and also by drawing power through overhead wire on electrified route,” said a senior Railway Ministry official involved in the project.
Railways will manufacture five dual-mode locomotives of 4,500 horse power capacity each at Diesel Locomotive Works in Varanasi as a pilot project.
Though similar locomotives are operational in the US and South Africa, it will be a first in India, the official said.
Currently, 52 per cent of trains on the Indian Railways network run on diesel. Diesel locomotives are generally replaced by electric engines on electrified route causing delays.
“However, with the acquisition of dual-mode locos, there will be no need for changing the locomotive for electric traction as the same diesel engine will be utilised on electrified route,” he said.
A dual-mode locomotive is estimated to cost about Rs. 18 crore, while a 4,500 horsepower diesel locomotive costs about Rs. 13 crore.
The proposal has been forwarded to the Research Design and Standard Design (RDSO), the research wing of Indian Railway, to finalise specifications.
“After the approval, DLW (Diesel Locomotive Works) will be manufacturing five such locos on a pilot basis. The locos will be pressed into service on certain electrified routes on a trial basis,” said the official.
The dual-mode locomotive will be heavier than the diesel locomotive and is expected to run at a maximum speed of 135 km per hour.