India’s First 12000 HP locomotive begins operation

The much awaited India’s first electric locomotive with 12,000 HorsePower (HP) started operation yesterday on 18th May 2020 . In line with the Government’s and Indian Railways’ target towards 100% electrification and towards sustainable mobility, this new WAG12B (12000 HP) locomotive will not only bring down operating costs for the Railways but will significantly cut down greenhouse gas emissions as well.

Manufactured at Alstom’s state-of-the-art locomotive facility at Madhepura in Bihar, this first locomotive is part of a €3.5 billion order comprising 800 electric double-section locomotives signed in 2015 which contributes to the Ministry of Railways’ PPP (Public-Private Partnership) programme to modernise the country’s rail infrastructure.

The First WAG12B (12000 HP) locomotive operation started on Deen Dayal Upadhyaya (DDU) division on 18th May 2020 . The train departed from Pt. Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Station in Uttar Pradesh with WAG/12B-60027 at 14:08 hrs in long haul formation for DDU-BRWD section of DDU and DHANBAD (DHN) divisions of East Central Railway (ECR).

Railway Minister Shri Piyush Goyal on 18.05.2020 tweeted,”Bolstering PM @NarendraModi ji’s vision of Make in India, first WAG12B (12000 HP) loco departed from Pt. Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Station in Uttar Pradesh today. Powerful and capable of high speed, the locomotive is a significant addition to the Indian Railways.”

Features of the Locomotive –

  • The 12,000 HP locomotive is equipped with IGBT-based propulsion technology.
  • The WAG-12B is a 3-phase, twin-section electric freight locomotive consisting of two identical sections, each of which rests on twin-axled bogies.
  • The locomotive incorporates special features based on the Alstom Prima T8 for operations in humid or dusty environments and extreme temperatures ranging from −50 °C (−58 °F) to 50 °C (122 °F).
  • The cabin of the locomotive is comparatively larger and offers better comfort for drivers, especially during long-distance operations.
  • The new twin Bo-Bo design Locomotive with 22.5 T (Tonnes) axle load upgradable to 25Tonnes will have design speed of 120 kmph.

New Design Locomotive at Madhepura Factory

Image Credit: PIB

Impact on Freight Transportation –

This locomotive has a hauling capacity of 6,000 tonnes and speed of 120 kmph, allowing faster and safer movement of heavier freight trains across the country, thereby reducing congestion for passenger train services and freight. These locomotives will be compliant with Indian standards of freight transport and will have the ability to endure tough Indian climate and conditions.

This locomotive will be a game changer for further movement of coal trains for Dedicated Freight Corridor.

Largest FDI in Railway Sector –

This is a truly “Make in India” project and even the first loco has been assembled in the Madhepura factory. In November last year, Indian Railways entered into a Procurement cum Maintenance Agreement with Madhepura Electric Locomotive Pvt. Ltd. (MELPL), a joint venture of Indian Railways and M/s Alstom. As part of the largest FDI (Foreign Direct Investment) project of Indian Railways, the Ministry of Railways and Alstom came together in 2015 to transform the heavy freight transportation landscape of the country. 

Locomotive Assembly in Madhepura

As part of the project, a factory along with the township has been set up in Madhepura, Bihar with  capacity to manufacture 120 locomotives per year. Also, the project will allow faster and safer movement of heavier freight trains. 

This agreement remains the largest FDI in the railways sector to date and has a strategic role in creating a multiplier effect on the economy. Also, this contract is one of the biggest contracts in the history of Alstom.