World-record for Indian Railways! Diesel locomotive converted to electric

Indian Railways creates world history! In a first of its kind notable initiative, Piyush Goyal-led Indian Railways has decided to convert its diesel locomotives to electric traction during their midlife rehabilitation. One such diesel locomotive has been converted to electric in a record time of 69 days by the Diesel Locomotive Works (DLW) in Varanasi.

The cost-effective conversion is also in line with the national transporter’s environment-friendly move of 100% electrification. According to railway officials, only Rs 2.5 crore will be spent for conversion of a diesel locomotives to electric as compared to the mid-life rehabilitation cost of Rs 5-6 crore. That’s a saving of almost 50% for the Indian Railways.

DLW Varanasi has converted a WDG3-class 2,600 HP diesel locomotive to an electric locomotive that delivers 5,000 HP which is 92% more than the older loco. The work on this ambitious project began in December 2017 and the new electric locomotive was dispatched for trials by end of February 2018. According to Indian Railways the task of converting a diesel locomotive to an electric one is a highly specialised – one which it claims has never been carried out in the world.

The combined two-unit locomotive packs 10,000 HP which is adequate to haul a load of up to around 5000 tonnes. It provides a 2:1 horse power to trailing load, considered appropriate for faster transit. Therefore, not only is it cost effective to convert the locomotive, but it also results in faster movement. The new ‘Make in India’ electric locomotive has completed trials and successfully hauled 5200 tonnes of freight on its maiden journey from Varanasi to Ludhiana at a maximum permissible speed of 75 kmph.

Indian Railways believes that the project is a step towards saving traction energy cost. This, it says will reduce Indian Railways’ fuel bill and also reduce carbon emissions besides heralding a new technology era for the national transporter.