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Monday, June 1, 2020

locomotives ~ during lockdown Chittaranjan Locomotive Works rolls out new loco !

I have travelled by train a lot – pre 1990s booking ticket was an ordeal – when Computerised Reservation complex came up at Allikulam complex near Central, it was a great boon.  It was a conceptual broken barrier that one can stand in any Queue and book ticket for any train from anywhere in India to anywhere else in India.  Then came the revolution of booking from home through Internet and the need for not carrying the printed ticket ! .. .. the first attraction in a train of course was its Engine

A locomotive or engine is a rail transport vehicle that provides the motive power for a train.  Traditionally, locomotives pulled trains from the front. However, push-pull operation too became  common, where the train may have a locomotive (or locomotives) at the front, at the rear, or at each end.  Not many would know that in Indian Railways Locomotives are easily identifiable by the classification codes.   This code is of the form '[gauge][power][load][series][subtype][suffix]'.  In this the first item, '[gauge]', is a single letter identifying the gauge the loco runs on:W = Broad Gauge; Y = Meter Gauge; Z = Narrow Gauge (2' 6") & N = Narrow Gauge (2').  The second item, '[power]', is one or two letters identifying the power source.

Another attractive feature of the locomotive is of course its headlight. Usually this is a single centrally mounted light near roof level at each end, although some locos have it at mid-level. Some of the newer locos feature twin-beam headlight fixtures. The headlights can be dimmed if needed. All recent locomotives also have a flasher lamp for use in emergencies or special circumstances. This is usually amber or yellow, and mounted close to the headlight near roof level, or on the edge of the roof.

Reading Railway history in IRFCA – in the 19th century and early this century, named locomotives were quite common. Many were named after administrators ("Lord Clive") or nobility ("Prince Albert"), or mythical figures ("Hercules"). Indian names were also included ("Tungabhadra", "Shakuntala"), and some whimsical ones as well ("Moth", "Ant", "Jimpeebuttee", "Perleewerlee"). Thomason was the  first locomotive ever to be used in India (1851) & the second one had the name Falkland.  The most famous ones were :  ‘Sahib, Sultan, Sindh’ – the three that hauled the first  passenger train in India (1853).  Another famous one is ‘Fairy Queen’ a steam locomotive of 1855, working still.

With so much of confusion and with regular passenger trains not running now during lockdown,  Shramik special trains  have transported 1 million passengers! For the movement of migrant workers, tourists, students, pilgrims, and other stranded people at different places during the lockdown period, Indian Railways is operating several Shramik Special train services. According to a press release issued by the Railway Ministry, as on 14 May 2020, a total of 800 Shramik Special train services have been operationalized from various states across the nation. By travelling on these Shramik Special trains, more than 10 lakh passengers have reached their home state so far. According to the ministry, the train services are being operated by Indian Railways only after concurrence is given both by the state which is sending the passengers as well as the state which is receiving the passengers.  Indian Railways is ensuring proper screening of passengers before boarding the train. During the train journey, railway passengers are being provided with free meals and water.

Another news item in media states that Indian Railways earned Rs 45.30 crore with passengers booking tickets for travel on special trains in the seven days immediately the booking was made open.  On Wednesday, as many as 20,149 passengers travelled on the special trains, and on 18 special trains operating on Thursday, a number of 25,737 passengers are scheduled to travel. So far, the total revenue generated by the national transporter for these tickets is Rs 45,30,09,675, according to a PTI report. According to the report, out of the nine special trains that departed from Delhi on Wednesday, eight trains that left for Thiruvananthapuram, Howrah, Jammu, Ahmedabad, Mumbai, Chennai, Dibrugarh and Ranchi, were booked beyond their capacity.

According to an official, overbooking does not mean that people are standing in the aisles. He said, it just means that there is a movement of passengers while the train is on the run. He further stated that passengers are boarding as well as deboarding at halt railway stations and there have been multiple ticket bookings.
Among the special train services that departed from the national capital on Wednesday, the only New Delhi-Rajendra Nagar (Patna) train did not run on its full capacity, which had a capacity of 1,239 passengers, but carried only 1,077 number of passengers, registering occupancy of only 87%. According to officials, the reason behind the train’s low occupancy could be that Bihar has accounted for over 100 trains already, which carried its workers to their home state since 1 May 2020.

Now comes another positive news.  Amidst  nationwide lockdown due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, Indian Railways’ Chittaranjan Locomotive Works rolled out the first locomotive number WAG9H 32810 of the financial year 2020-21! The Chittaranjan Locomotive Works (CLW) workshop re-opened with limited staff on 11 May 2020, after a gap of 49 days due to the lockdown imposed across the country because of the COVID-19 outbreak. According to details shared by the locomotive manufacturing factory, CLW rolled out the first locomotive of the financial year 2020-21, within only three days of resumption of work. In the financial year 2019-20, CLW manufactured a total of 431 locomotives. With this new record, the locomotive manufacturing factory surpassed its own previous world record of production of as many as 402 locomotives in the financial year 2018-19.

Recently, the CLW-built 9000 HP freight locomotive WAG 9HH and the freight locomotive had cleared the trial runs successfully. The locomotive’s trial run was conducted by the Research Design and Standards Organisation (RDSO) over the Northern Railway zone network. The locomotive was tested at a speed of 100 km per hour during the trial run. The loco has been provided with many modern and advanced features. According to the national transporter, the new addition will make transportation of goods as well as train journeys more convenient.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

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