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Faster, Fitter & French: 7 Things to Know About India’s New High-Power Locomotives

Estimated to cost around ₹30 crore, the locomotive will soon be delivered to the locomotive factory at Madhepura, Bihar for assembly and have its trial run by February next year.

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With the arrival of a high horsepower locomotive from Alstom France, the Indian Railways is all set to make the freight train system in the country far more productive.

The high-power electric engine, which can haul goods trains at double the current average speed, is part of the joint-venture contract signed by the national transporter with the French company in 2015.

Here is everything you need to know about the new high-power locomotive:

The 9 MW WAG12 locomotives for Indian Railways will be a development of Alstom’s Prima family. Source: Railway Gazette.

1. The first bodyshell for the fleet of 12000 HP and 800 WAG12 twin-section electric locomotives was unloaded at Haldia in the Port of Kolkata on September 20.

2. Estimated to cost around ₹30 crore, the locomotive will soon be delivered to the locomotive factory at Madhepura, Bihar for assembly and have its trial run by February next year.

3. Being the first ever Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) project in the rail sector, close to 800 such engines are to make inroads in the Indian Rail system over the next 11 years.

Fleet arriving at Haldia, Kolkata Port. Source: Railway Gazette.

4. According to the contract, the first five locomotives will be imported from France. The remaining 795 engines will be manufactured locally under the government’s Make in India campaign.

5. The ₹300 crore project will also include a manufacturing plant at Madhepura and two maintenance depots at Saharanpur, Uttar Pradesh and Nagpur, Maharashtra.

6. Equipped with ABB transformers and Knorr-Bremse braking systems, the 9 MW locomotives, with a maximum speed of 120 km/h, are expected to double the productivity on the Eastern Dedicated Freight Corridor and raise the average speed of heavy freight trains on other routes.

7. If things go as planned, 35 locomotives will be operational by 2020, 60 in 2021, followed by 100 every year till the contact of 800 engines is accomplished.

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Written by Lekshmi Priya S

Shuttling between existentialist views and Grey's Anatomy, Lekshmi has an insanely disturbing habit of binge reading. An ardent lover of animals and plants, she also specializes in cracking terribly sad jokes.