PM Modi Flags Off World’s First Diesel-to-Electric Locomotive

As India looks to reduce its carbon footprint, this ‘Make in India’ initiative by Indian Railways is a welcome step as PM Modi flags off the new diesel-to-electric loco

In a first, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today flagged off an electric locomotive converted from a diesel engine at the Diesel Locomotives Works (DLW) in Varanasi. The Indian Railways has converted a diesel locomotive into an electric one, as part of efforts to completely electrify the broad gauge network.

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Diesel Locomotive Works converted two WDG3A Diesel Locos into a Twin Electric WAGC3 loco of 10,000 HP. A complete ‘Make in India’ initiative, the conversion is an Indian R&D innovation and first for the entire world. The converted locos will result in less Green House Gas emissions and better efficient locomotives for the Indian Railways.

The feat was achieved in record time with the help of engineers from Research Designs and Standards Organisation (RDSO), Chittaranjan Locomotive Works(CLW), and Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd. (BHEL).

The work on the project began on December 22, 2017 and from concept to execution of the conversion of the diesel locomotive to electric was carried out in just 69 days, railway officials said.

In keeping with the Indian Railways’ Mission 100 percent electrification and de-carbonization agenda, DLW developed a new prototype electric locomotive converted from diesel locomotive.

The converted electric locomotive delivers 10,000 HP against 2 X 2612 HP of two diesel locomotive (92 percent more power). A 10,000 HP of haulage power is adequate to haul a load up to nearly 5300 Tonnes, providing around 2:1 HP to trailing load ratio.

According to Indian Railways, the conversion cost of diesel locomotive into electric locomotive is less than the cost of midlife rehabilitation of a diesel locomotive. Other than being economical, it also leads to an increase in the average speed of freight trains, which would increase sectional capacity. The project was sanctioned on 27 November 2018 by the national transporter for commercial services. Last year, the converted electric locomotive completed trials at a maximum permissible speed of 75 kmph and successfully hauled 5200 tonnes of freight on its maiden journey from Varanasi to Ludhiana.

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