Indian Railways most powerful ‘Made in India’ locomotive

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The Indian Railways has operationalised its first 12,000 hp electric locomotive manufactured locally by French rolling stock manufacturer Alstom.

The locomotive made its maiden commercial run between Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Station to Shivpur on Monday.

It has been manufactured at the Madhepura Electric Locomotive Pvt. Ltd. (MELPL), in Bihar, which is a joint venture between the French major and the Indian railways holding an equity share of 74% and 26% respectively.

India became the sixth country in the world to join the club of countries producing high horsepower locomotive indigenously, the railway ministry said in a statement on Tuesday.

Alstom in 2015 bagged a Rs. 25,000 crore order for supplying 800 high-power electric locomotives, one of the largest instances of public-private partnership in the country.

Entry of WAG 12B (e-loco) into the Indian Railways fleet will allow faster and safer movement of heavier freight trains capable to haul around 6000 tonnes at a top speed of 120 kmph, Alstom India said in a separate statement.

WAG-12 has two variants; The first model was the WAG-12A, of which only one unit has been manufactured. This design experienced issues with ride quality, which resulted in major modifications to the suspension and the bogies.

The final design, now known as WAG-12B, has been approved by the Indian Railways. This design is now heading for serial production at the new factory set up at Madhepura in Bihar.

Technical Specifications of the WAG-12B

Axial ArrangementBo-Bo (For each of two units)
Number of Axles8
Mass of Locomotive180 Tons, Upgradeable to 200 Tons
Length19,200 mm per unit, 38,400 mm total length
Centre-To-Centre Distance Between Bogies10,200 mm
Maximum Speed100 km/h, Upgradeable to 120 km/h
Continuous Speed60 km/h
Max Load Haulage6,300 tons, 1:150 Gradient, 60 kph for 25 Ton Per Axle Variant
OHE VoltageNominal: 22.5 kV, 50 Hz
Maximum: 31 kV
Minimum: 17 kV
Traction Power (Continuous Rating)9,000 kW (12,069 hp approx)
Max Starting TE at 25t Axle Load / 22.5t Axle Load785 kN / 705 kN
Braking Effort563 kN
Max Braking Effort79.315 kN per motor
Stopping Distance900 metres: 100 kph to 0 kph
Remote Multiple Unit OperationsYes, 2 Locomotives
Traction MotorAsynchronous, Nose Suspended
Maximum RPM2,711

New Features on the WAG-12

  1. Two units (A and B) permanently coupled to each other. Both units only have cabs on the outward-facing ends.
  2. Both units will be controlled from the working cab.
  3. While both units will be provided with one pantograph each. However, only one pantograph will be raised at a time and will feed power to both the units through a high-tension overhead link.
  4. Both units have been provided with a toilet for the crew.
  5. The units are connected to each other through a vestibule and gangway.
  6. A major departure from existing designs of locomotives is that high voltage apparatus like the vacuum circuit breaker is now inside the body of the locomotive in a special cubicle. The roof of the locomotive is almost empty except for the pantograph.
  7. This locomotive has a larger wheel diameter, compared to other freight locomotives in service on the IR.
  8. This locomotive also features the much-awaited ‘Brake Blending’ facility. If regenerative braking (AKA electric or Electro-Dynamic brake) is applied and found insufficient, a proportionate quantum of the pneumatic brake is applied simultaneously by the locomotive.
  9. To improve reliability, almost all hardware switches and controls are replicated on the DDU (Driver Display Unit). Thus, several functions can also be controlled using ‘Soft Keys’.
  10. A dehumidifier for air intake ensures that only dry air is used for cooling and ventilation systems. This will improve equipment life and insulation.
  11. An automatic flap system regulates the entry of air into the locomotive’s ventilation system and ensures uniform flow in various conditions.
  12. Tube drive equipped with self-aligning roller bearings for better suspension

Differences Between WAG-12A and WAG-12B

Limitations of the original WAG-12 design resulted in modifications and the WAG-12B variant. Here are the key differences between both types.

WAG-12AWAG-12B
Total Length35,000 mm38,400 mm
Bogie DesignFlat solebarGooseneck or handlebar shaped solebar
Traction link coupling between the bogie and bodyBelow the driving cabTurned around and now provided in the middle of the body
Center to center distance between the bogiesLower (8,500 mm)Higher (10,200 mm)


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